A recent report by TMZ revealed that Tekashi 6ix9ine — he of “Stoopid” fame — filmed a commercial for the Romantic Depot line of sex shops back in November 2018.
Romantic Depot, which has several stores in the greater New York area, got the rapper to serve as a spokesman for their stores, and TMZ’s “bloopers” were designed to show the alleged Nine Trey Bloods gang member in a goofy, almost lovable, light.
But 6ix9ine, whose real name is Daniel Hernandez, isn’t actually rehabilitating his image with this move. If anything, he’s not only pushing more of the same toxic sexism that’s become endemic in the world today, he’s helping to sell Hip Hop out even further to the vultures who would prefer to do little more than feast off a rotting carcass of a once-great musical genre.
The official press sound bite on this “strategic partnership” is that Tekashi 6ix9ine volunteered to promote the store and push an anti-abuse message in an effort to rehabilitate his image and spread understanding about domestic violence. That “image rehabilitation” stems from two particularly gruesome incidents in which the rapper was accused of beating his girlfriend and sexually assaulting a child.
The crimes are so gruesome, in fact, that a close look at the commercial reveals Romantic Depot putting out a disclaimer — in the bottom left corner — that the stores “in no way” condone 6ix9ine’s “past activities.” While we guess we all should be grateful that the store doesn’t go into graphic detail about what those “past activities” include (since, let’s face it, they’re pretty disgusting), it seems pretty flippant to reduce these pretty serious crimes to a barely-legible disclaimer, as if he’d been caught cutting class or smoking joints in the boys’ restroom in school.
This gotta be the best local commercial in the history of New York pic.twitter.com/HCXlwVZMCl
— Marcia Herold (@marciaherold) July 23, 2018
And that disclaimer is even more insulting when, according to the Daily Beast, the actual facts of the deal reveal that Tekashi 6ix9ine not only received remuneration for his appearance, he netted close to $65,000 for spending 30 seconds of his life talking about not beating up on women for a shop that sells vibrators and sex dolls to the Big Apple’s sexually repressed.
What’s more, the outlet reveals that the initial script for the commercial was designed to make light of the child sex abuse charges that, at that point, had been levied against the store’s new spokesman. To wit:
“The contract does suggest “6ix9ine closing dialogue” that goes like this: “When I was younger I made some immature decisions and have learned to respect boundaries. The sex education I received at Romantic Depot taught me about treating women with dignity and respect. We can’t wait to get home.” In the actual commercial, Tekashi’s closing dialogue is moved to the start and boiled down: “When I was younger, I used to make a lot of stupid mistakes. Now I’m ready to learn more.”
We’re not suggesting that people who commit crimes don’t deserve a second chance at life. And it can be argued that Tekashi 6ix9ine is already going through enough, especially since he’s looking at both hard time and a life in Witness Protection for his role in various racketeering schemes.
But as the frequent, noxious defenses of R. Kelly clearly show us, women of color — in particular — are the first to go under the proverbial bus in this “new wave” of alleged Hip Hop.
To make light of staggering statistics regarding domestic violence against women of color — who are, according to the Institute for Women’s Policy Research, far more likely to be victims of emotional violence, physical violence, rape, and murder than their white counterparts — by putting a convicted abuser and rapist in a commercial for a sex shop is a slap in the face to the essence of Hip Hop.
There’s a difference between getting your money up and commodifying a culture at the expense of both the women of the culture and the culture itself, and this latest sex shop ad featuring Tekashi 6ix9ine clearly falls into the latter category, no matter how many blooper reels the company tries to release to soften the blow.