A Twitter apology was not enough to quiet the controversy surrounding Rick Ross‘ latest lyrics, for which he has been accused of promoting rape. Thursday (April 4), shortly after Ross tweeted a 69-character apology, a group of impassioned women and men gathered at Reebok’s flagship store in New York City to protest the sneaker company’s association with the rapper.
Members of Ultra Violet, the event’s organizer, were holding boxes labeled with the number “72,000.”
“These are 72,000 petitions signed by our members all over the country,” Shaunna Thomas, co-founder of Ultra Violet, told Radio.com. “They are also comments from people about why they feel Reebok needs to drop Rick Ross over his recent lyrics about drugging and raping a girl.”
The crowd of approximately 40 people cheered on two speakers, including Wagatwe Wanjuki, who offered her testimonial as a rape victim; and Sonia Ossorio, president of NOW NYC, who slammed Ross for making light of a heavy topic.
“It is a hate crime to be out there making fun of, making light of, drugging and raping women,” said Ossorio. “It happens all too often in our culture.”
While Ross tried to explain that he didn’t mention the word ‘rape’ shortly after online petitions surfaced, the controversy continues. Today, Ross took to Twitter prior to the protest to offer a brief apology.
“I dont condone rape,” he tweeted. “Apologies for the #lyric interpreted as rape. #BOSS”
— Mastermind (@rickyrozay) April 4, 2013
The fall-out began last week when Rocko dropped his latest single “U.O.E.N.O.” with a verse from Ross, who raps about slipping a girl a “molly” (MDMA) tab without her knowledge and later having sex with her.
“I’ll die over these Reeboks (She ain’t even know it)/ Put molly all in her champagne (She ain’t even know it),” Ross raps. “I took her home and I enjoyed that (She ain’t even know it)…”
Despite his efforts to provide a different take on his lyrics, Ross’ apology did little to change attitudes at Thursday’s protest.
“How do you say ‘I slipped her molly and went home and enjoyed it and she didn’t know’ and then say you didn’t mean to condone rape,” protester William Anderson said. “He knew exactly what he was saying. The fact of the matter is he’s just a coward and he’s trying to avoid dealing with it.”
Shaunna Thomas of Ultra Violate attempted to make good on the promise to deliver the 72,000 signatures to Reebok execs. But she was stopped at the door by a man who refused to identify himself.
The man accepted the boxes of petitions and assured her that he would pass them along to the rightful party, but could not allow her inside.
“We have customers in the store,” the man said. “We can’t allow everybody in the store.”
Rick Ross’ representatives have not responded to requests for comment.