As The Glow Up noted, in a recent interview at the 2019 Summit Ideas Conference, the rapper, whose name is Rakim Athelaston Mayers, said the rapper wanted to make an impact in the lives of inmates by…wait for it…designing new prison uniforms for them.
“When I was going through my whole situation,” Rocky explained, “the whole time I used to look on television and see Swedish fans showing me so much love and I want to give it back.”
But according to Highsnobiety, depending on who you ask, the details of this don’t seem 100 percent locked down:
Fredrik Wallin, the head of the Kronoberg prison, recently told Swedish daily newspaper Aftonbladet that Rocky had reached out about donating clothes to inmates, but nothing has been confirmed yet. According to Wallin, Rocky’s lawyer sent him images of the uniform, which consist of a green tracksuit with “PROMENVD” printed on the chest.
In addition, the rapper will be performing a concert in Sweden next month, his first since being arrested back and held for 2 months in the Nordic country. In a recent interview, he told Forbes, A “most of the proceeds [from performances in Sweden] will go to inmates and prison reformation.”
“I’m trying to do what I can with what I can, adding, “I just want to keep creating and encouraging whoever is after me to do it better.”
Remember: The 31-year-old Harlem native was arrested and prosecuted for a street brawl in Stockholm on June 30 that left a 19-year-old man bleeding and needing medical treatment.
Listen, I believe it’s a great thing to want to give back and have your eyes opened about the prison system, especially after being subjected to it. Giving money for prison reform is a good thing. Congrats and thank you.
But while I see other folks on social media and a few colleagues applaud the rapper for wanting to make a difference, I’m just not sure how throwing money to a company to create a luxury prison uniform with a logo on it, is going to change inmates’ morale or give them a different lease on life.
IT’S STILL PRISON.
In no way is this some genius idea or a radical act or an example of the rapper playing “chess while y’all are playing checkers.” Instead, on its surface, it’s just another out-of-touch celebrity trying to digging deep in a shallow pool of understanding, who’s never been taught that using the master’s tools will never dismantle the master’s house.
Granted, maybe I’m also a little bitter about this news, especially given that Rocky can muster up this newfound empathy toward these presumably mostly-white Nordic inmates when just four years ago, he couldn’t do the same for Black folks in the U.S. To him, Black Lives Matter was just a “bandwagon,” and that he cannot relate to the people in Ferguson.
Doubling down on this nonsense, he told The Breakfast Club in 2016 that he can’t comment on the death of Mike Brown because “I don’t go to middle American cities. We’re in the major markets.”
Yes, it’s been a while and he may have changed his views, but he has yet to do so publicly. So to watch him want to give back to Sweden and not the millions of Black men incarcerated here in the U.S. is very telling.
So, nah. Until he does right by us, I’m not clapping for this man. Sorry to this man. He can keep those uniforms.