In light of the current media attention surrounding demonstrators at Zuccotti park down in Wall Street’s financial district entertainment mogul, Jay Z took the opportunity to create “Occupy All Streets” t-shirts for his Rocawear clothing line.

However, the company  was immediately bombarded with criticism after releasing a statement saying that proceeds from the $22 dollar t-shirts would not be donated to the cause:

The ‘Occupy All Streets’ T shirt was created in support of the ‘Occupy Wall Street’ movement. Rocawear strongly encourages all forms of constructive expression, whether it be artistic, political or social. ‘Occupy All Streets’ is our way of reminding people that there is change to be made everywhere, not just on Wall Street. At this time we have not made an official commitment to monetarily support the movement.

TMZ is reporting that, supporters of ‘Occupy Wall Street’ were livid with the clothing company and Priscilla Grim, one of the leaders  blasted Jay by saying:

Jay-Z, as talented as he is, has the political sensibility of a hood rat and is a scrotum. To attempt to profit off of the first important social moment of 50 years with an overpriced piece of cotton is an insult to the fight for economic civil rights known as #occupywallstreet.”

Earlier this week sculptor, Daniel Edwards was outraged when he found out Jay Z, who earned $63 million last year would stand to profit from people who were being arrested for what they believe to be one of the most important social justice movements of our generation. He created a piece which he describes as a Scrooge Totem pole.

In the figurine,  Jay-Z is wearing chains with a big dollar sign on his chest at the base and animated characters that have played the money-hungry Scrooge character on television stacked on top of him. Above Jay is Mr. Burns from ‘The Simpsons,’ ‘Scrooge McDuck’ from Disney’s ‘Christmas Carol,’ and Richie Rich.

Daniel recently discussed why he chose to make the sculpture of Jay-z:

“I think Jay-Z has made himself a face of [the] Wall Street that Occupiers are protesting against. Maybe Jay-Z is striving to be in the one percent? Which is why I chose the composition of a totem pole because I thought it would resemble the number one. Rap stars who turn ‘Scrooge’ have to suffer some damage to their street credibility.”

According to the Huffington post, Jay Z is not the first and probably won’t be the last to use the Wall Street Movement to make some money. The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has received a rash of applications from merchants, lawyers and others to trademark phrases like “Occupy” and “We Are The 99 Percent.”

In an ad on Craigslist, MTV said it was hunting for a cast member for its flagship reality show The Real World among the Occupy crowd, according to theLos Angeles Times. The network also aired True Life: I’m Occupying Wall Street earlier this month, which documented a few days in the park for some of the twenty-somethings taking part in the movement, CBS News reports.

Some activists not directly associated with the movement even produced a commercial last month that aims to direct people to Occupy Together, one of the many websites promoting the Occupy Wall Street cause, according to the New York Observer. The OWS PR team decided against using the video on because they were concerned that viewers would find it “too commercial.”

While I do agree with the message behind the t-shirts, should Jay Z and Rocawear be supporting the Occupy Wall Street movement monetarily? In an upcoming episode of Warren Buffet’s children series, The Secret Millionaire’s Club an animated Jay Z makes an appearance explaining that becoming successful has allowed him to help others. He has definitely brought another medium to shed light on what is going down in Zuccotti park.

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One response

  1. jscab says:

    I recently heard about Jay-z making these “occupy all streets” shirts and the criticism he has been receiving. The main criticism, as pointed out by your blog, has been on the profit made for him and rocawear out of using the occupy wall street movement. In my opinion the message the shirt states is a good one, as rocawear said, “Occupy All Streets’ is our way of reminding people that there is change to be made everywhere, not just on Wall Street.” But it is a broader message then the main message of fighting against economic injustice, provided by Occupy Wall Street. This reminds of similar tactics used by conservatives to argue culture of poverty, in where they saw poverty in culture and not at all structural. The message of change needed everywhere is a reasonable one, but it derails the fact that the main problems affecting the 99 percent are due to the contemporary structure of our economic system. Maybe am being a bit too critical of the message but i believe it takes away force from the fight against economic injustice. Aside from the concept of the shirt, the fact that jayz is making profit out of a shirt in “support” of a movement, while using the flawed capitalist system the movement is fighting against is some what disturbing. But even though he is using the system, the man is a famous world recognized millionaire and i believe could have found much better ways to support the occupy wall street movement; aside from money he could have helped by promiting it through his large network of aquiantances. Nevertheless i dont see anything “hoodrat” about his political sensibilty, but do see a man trying to take advantage of this social movement through fashion business.