After a couple weeks of deliberation and a recent push from several feminist groups, the Reebok brand has decided to part ways with Miami Rapper Rick Ross. This comes after a controversial lyric Ross unleashed to the world on a guest feature of ‘U.O.E.N.O.’ with Rocko and Future. The song was released in February and has been picking up steam, mainly due to the lyric which left a lot of people shocked and offended, in turn forcing all of Ross’ sponsors to take notice.
”Molly all in her champagne and she ain’t even know it – I took her home and I enjoyed that, she ain’t even know it”
It’s quite clear the rapper is insinuating date rape in his lyric, but when given the opportunity to apologize for it on a New Orleans radio station, Ross seemed to turn the tables and chalk it up as a ‘misunderstanding’. He said he doesn’t condone rape, and the word ‘rape’ was never used. Yes, that was his explanation. This statement only added wood to the already burning fireplace of controversy that Ross had built, and corporate sponsors were put in a corner. All including his biggest endorser, Reebok. Ironically in the same song he claimed he would ‘die’ for his Reeboks, but the shout out wasn’t enough for the major sneaker conglomerate to relieve Ross of his duties.
Reebok States: Reebok holds our partners to a high standard, and we expect them to live up to the values of our brand. Unfortunately, Rick Ross has failed to do so. 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. At this time, it is in everyone’s best interest for Reebok to end its partnership with Mr. Ross.
Hip Hop has a long history of controversial lyrics, and a long history of people protesting against it as a consequence. This time it seems to be no different, and though a shock to some, one of the people you do not want to alienate as a brand or business is women, that being said, Reebok did make a wise choice, though the two have had a successful run over the last couple of years.
The implications of this are yet to be seen, but the hip hop community will sure take note of this incident, especially since Ross is slated to lose at least 3-5 million dollars in the up coming year for his endorsement. Not all promo is good promo, and he didn’t even know it.