Last week womens rights group UltraViolet led protests outside a New York City Reebok store against the brand’s endorsement of Rick Ross. The group cited lyrics in Ross’ verse on the Rocko song “U.O.E.N.O.” that they believed, implied rape. Following the protests, Ross apologized for the perceived lyrics on Twitter. However, protesters continued to seek Reebok let go of the Def Jam/Maybach Music Group star.
Yesterday, those requests were met in late afternoon, when Reebok formally announced that they had parted ways with Rick Ross, citing that he did not align with the “values of the brand.” They also expressed disappointment with the rapper’s apology, stating, “We are very disappointed [that Rick Ross] has yet to display an understanding of the seriousness of this issue.”
In the hours following the news, UltraViolet reacted, as reported by VIBE.com, praising the shoemaker and apparel brand. “We are thrilled to hear that Reebok is joining the fight against rape culture and dropping Rick Ross,” said UltraViolet co-founder Nita Chaudhary.
“This is a huge victory for women, for the 526 survivors of rape who were brave enough to publicly confront rape culture, and for the nearly 100,000 UltraViolet members who have poured their hearts and time into this campaign,” Chaudhary continued. “This sends a strong message that rapping about drugging and raping an unconscious woman is not only morally wrong, but has real consequences.” She closed in saying, “Thank you Reebok for taking a stand.”
Already, two of Rick Ross Rap peers have criticized Reebok for the same decision, in Earl Sweatshirt and Slim Thug.