Earlier this week, Jay-Z mugged for the cameras wearing an "Occupy All Streets" t-shirt, while standing next to mogul and Occupy Wall Street supporter Russell Simmons. The photo circulated, creating plenty of buzz, and lo and behold, now the shirt is for sale for $22 through Jay-Z's clothing company Rocawear, where he plans to turn a profit from it. His reps at Rocawear have confirmed, "At this time we have not made an official commitment to monetarily support the movement." Essentially, the rapper/entrepreneur, who is firmly planted amongst the 1%, has chosen to co-opt a slogan that's founded in the movement, and use it for his own monetary gain. What do the protesters think of all this? We talked to a few of them today:
- "Naturally there will be some bloodsuckers who come out of the woodwork. We have a screen-printers guild on camp, and it's easy to find many other T-shirts that actually benefit the cause. In regards to the question, a much better way to show your support for #ows would be to show up and participate in this momentous occasion and help to shape a new and better future." — Patrick Bruner, a spokesman for OWS
- "Awful, I don't think he should take the idea of this movement and profit. He may eventually donate some of the profits, though. If not he's a shit head." — Dane, from NYC
- "Not right, it's a weird thing he supported it and now he's doing that. Something is not right about that." — Angela, student from Rhode Island
Meanwhile, Uncle Rush is standing by his fellow 1%er, declaring that he is "shocked" by the controversy, and that he's happy that a lot of kids are learning about OWS through Jay-Z's latest product.
Additional reporting by Bethany O'Grady