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Reebok drops Rick Ross over controversial lyrics

April 11, 2013|By Gerrick D. Kennedy
  • New York City protest against Reebok for not firing rapper Rick Ross over sexist and violent lyrics outside the Reebok Flagship Store.
New York City protest against Reebok for not firing rapper Rick Ross over… (Slaven Vlasic / Getty Images )

Rick Ross’ controversial lyrics that seemed to promote date rape resulted in the superstar rapper-mogul being dropped as a spokesperson for Reebok.

After intense pressure from a number of organizations, including anti-sexism collective UltraViolet, the athletic company announced Thursday it had parted ways with Ross.

“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,” Reebok said in a statement to The Times.

“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.”

Reebok's severing ties with Ross comes after Atlanta rapper Rocko said he would remove the offending lyrics from his track, "U.O.E.N.O.”

Before Reebok’s announcement, Rocko issued the first of a number of planned remixes of the track. It featured Future (he was on the original) and Wiz Khalifa.

“The record with Ross, that will always be the original record,” Rocko told New York radio station Hot 97 on Tuesday. “Because of the type of traction that the record has as far as radio and all over the country ... it puts me in a position where I have to change it.”

RELATED: Rick Ross apologizes for lyric 'interpreted as rape'

"U.O.E.N.O." is lifted from Rocko’s latest mixtape. The track has been at the center of a firestorm due to Ross’ controversial guest verse.

"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," he raps on the track.

Molly is the powder or crystal form of pure MDMA, a substance typically found in Ecstasy. The drug, which has also been referenced in lyrics by Kanye West, Lil Wayne and 2 Chainz, is known for its ability to reduce inhibitions and provide feelings of euphoria, especially when the user is touched by another person.

Ross drew the ire of listeners and critics, and a number of organizations, including anti-sexism collective UltraViolet, have launched petitions to have the rapper-mogul dropped as a spokesman for Reebok. UltraViolet’s petition garnered nearly 100,000 signatures.

Ross, who has been a spokesperson for the brand since 2012, brushed off the controversy as a simple "misunderstanding” and apologized -- not for the actual lyrics, but for what had been “interpreted as rape.”

Gerrick Kennedy

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