After non-stop campaigning by protestors and backlash from fellow hip-hop artists like Talib Kweli, Reebok has reportedly decided to end its business relationship and part ways with Rick Ross.
The mega sneaker company issued a statement on the huge move Thursday (April 11).
Athletic goods retailer Reebok on Thursday terminated its relationship with rapper Rick Ross, whose song featuring lyrics that seem to boast about drugging and raping a woman has caused an uproar. “While we do not believe that Rick Ross condones sexual assault, we are very disappointed he has yet to display an understanding of the seriousness of this issue or an appropriate level of remorse,” Reebok, a subsidiary of Germany company Adidas, said in a statement. “At this time, it is in everyone’s best interest for Reebok to end its partnership with Mr. Ross,” it said. Ross had an endorsement deal with the company and promoted its shoes in print and TV commercials. (Reuters)
This week, Young Money’s Tyga noted Ross simply exercised freedom of speech on a record he did not even own.
On Ross’ verse on the Rocko song “U.O.E.N.O.”, Tyga felt the situation was blown out of proportion. “It’s freedom of speech,” he said, “I mean it wasn’t even his record.” The rapper expressed that those criticizing Ross probably don’t actually know all that much about him. “I mean activists, and all those righteous groups. That’s what they do, they probably don’t even listen to Ross’s music. I know they don’t know who Rocko is.” he said, concluding that “they’re just finding anything they can.” (Hot New Hip Hop)
Along with Tyga’s comments, MMG member Meek Mill spoke up for the “Boss” this week.
“I don’t even care about nobody criticizing no lyrics. People rap about killing stuff all day. Biggie said, “Rape your kid, throw her over the bridge” back then, it was nothing, it was just hip-hop. Now you got all these weirdos on these social sites voicing their opinion about something anybody say. I don’t care, you know what I’m saying? I’m from the hood. I never really cared about what nobody say in no rap. Rap’s always been talking about killing, drugs, all types of stuff. You know what I’m saying? So you can’t just criticize no one thing nobody say. It’s imaginary visual. If a writer write about somebody getting raped in a movie, that mean he a rapist or he want girls to get raped? No, he just wrote about that in a movie. [Eminem talked about] you can kill your mom, kill your baby mom, rape her, tie her up. … It’s just different now. People can voice their opinion on a social site and become popular and people are turning it into any thing. Me? I don’t care about that. You can say whatever you want. I take care of my family, I’m getting money, I’m living my life and I’m being me.” (Urban Informer)
Cash Money/We The Best rapper Ace Hood recently defended Ross’ lyrics.
Ross ain’t that type of guy,” Ace said in an interview. “You know what I mean? I’ve known Ross since I jumped in this music industry, he ain’t mean it in no way that would be degrading to women or anything like that aura. [Why did he say it?] What they saying he said, he didn’t say. You know what I’m saying, what they’re saying. Bottle and champagne, something like that.” (“Jenny Boom Boom”)
Despite the support, Ross issued a public apology shortly before a protest outside of a New York Reebok store against him went down last week.
“I dont condone rape.Apologies for the #lyric interpreted as rape. #BOSS,” Ross tweeted April 4th.
“Apologies to my many business partners,who would never promote violence against women. @ReebokClassics @ultraviolet” (Rick Ross’ Twitter)