Report: WorldStarHipHop Founder Lee “Q” O’Denat Found Dead at 43
TMZ reports that WorldStarHipHop.com founder and CEO Lee O’Denat, widely known as “Q,” has passed away at the age of 43. Sources who spoke with TMZ claim that O’Denat died in his sleep Monday night, possibly of a heart attack.
O’Denat, a well-known figure in the entertainment and media industry, founded the video aggregation website in 2005. Over time, it became not just an open-source repository for rap music-related content, but a popular hub for home videos–most notoriously, footage of public brawling—that eventually turned “Worldstar” into a recognizable catchphrase.
While critics derided WorldStar for promoting violence and a negative image of black communities, it was one of the first internet media companies to reach an audience that was neglected by white-owned, mainstream websites. In interviews, Q, echoing Chuck D, dubbed the site “the CNN of the ghetto.”
Many established rappers continue to release new videos exclusively to WorldStar, which also operates a YouTube channel for such purposes. The site has also financed original programming, including a series examining music’s intersection with gang life in different American cities, The Field.
Watch a documentary about WorldStar, featuring footage of O’Denat, below.
Update: WorldStar has released a statement on Q’s death, which you can read below.
We ask that you remember Q in your prayers and raise a toast to the sky in his name. RIP 🙏 pic.twitter.com/ixsULQil32
— WORLDSTARHIPHOP (@WORLDSTAR) January 24, 2017