He's got 99 problems, and now "the 99%" might be another one. Rapper Jay-Z is plastering Occupy Wall Street's message onto a new line of T-shirts, to be released Friday under his Rocawear clothing label.
Photos of Jay-Z sporting one of the shirts while he was backstage at one of his concerts with hip hop magnate Russell Simmons earlier this week lit up the Twittersphere. Simmons has been a fervent supporter of the Occupy movement, and tweeted that Jay-Z's wardrobe choice "took #OccupyWallStreet to a whole new level."
But here's the thing: Rocawear isn't going to share its wealth. A Rocawear spokesperson sent us a statement confirming there's no plan to distribute any of the profits, which will surely pour in from shirt sales, to Occupy Wall Street:
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.
With Rocawear set to keep proceeds, New York's favorite native son is poised to cash in on his apparent support of a movement that rails against exactly that sort of thing. The irony! But he wouldn't be the first.
A couple of weeks ago, we told you about an online site ripping off the Occupy Wall Street signs created by New York artist Jason Shelowitz and copywriter @blulaces, which they intended to use to help create a cohesive message for protesters. Instead, the store apparently lifted their work and slapped it on mugs and T-shirts.
The "Occupy All Streets" motto apparently first appeared at a Slutwalk protest in Berlin. Independent of that, Shelowitz and @blulaces also designed signs with the "Occupy All Streets" motto. Coincidence?