RICK ROSS, NO BOSS
Words by: F. Garcia
One of Hip-Hop’s most recognizable names came under fire recently for his lyrics on a song that he was featured on. Miami rapper Rick Ross was criticized for his reference to date rape on Rocko’s "U.O.E.N.O." Rick Ross attempted to apologize more than once for the lyric ("I’d die over these reeboks you ain’t even know it/ Put Molly all in her champagne, she ain't even know it/ I took her home and I enjoyed that, she ain't even know it.”) but it was seen as disingenuous because they failed to acknowledge the seriousness of the issue. Rape is no joke (or art) when nearly 1 in 5 U.S. women surveyed in the National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey said they had been sexually assaulted.
Protests and petitions against Rick Ross included women’s rights group, UltraViolet, who asked Reebok to end their relationship with the rapper. After several weeks of protest and pressure Reebok finally issued a statement that culminated in saying “At this time, it is in everyone's best interest for Reebok to end its partnership with Mr. Ross."
Hip-Hop artists have long enjoyed the freedom to express themselves but they can find that freedom restricted when they become paid endorsers of multinational corporations. After dealing with the embarrassment of losing his deal Ross issued another apology: “And most recently, my choice of words was not only offensive, it does not reflect my true heart. And for this, I apologize. To every woman that has felt the sting of abuse, I apologize. I recognize that as an artist I have a voice and with that, the power of influence.” Hopefully a few lessons were learned from all of this. One, that rape culture will not be tolerated, two, that Hip-Hop artists should really check their moral values before embodying an offensive stage "persona" and three, everyone read fine print before they sign up to be pitchmen–so that they know what they're risking!