For the last few weeks, Rick Ross, has been the subject of a growing controversy surrounding lyrics he used in the remix to Rocko’s U.O.E.N.O. that seemingly describes date rape. The lyrics in question are:
“Put Molly all in her champagne/she ain’t even know it
I took her home and I enjoyed that/she ain’t even know it”
After a massive backlash, the rapper apologized for what he describes as a “misinterpretation,” first on the Q 93.3 radio show (video) and then again on Twitter:
In his interview with Q 93.3, Ross maintains that because he did not use the word rape, that that’s not what he meant. However, if you’re rapping about spiking someone’s drink and taking them home without their knowledge you don’t need a wild imagination to come to the conclusion that what’s being described sounds like date rape.
Not satisfied with his apology, several women’s rights groups have started a petition to get Reebok to drop the rapper as an endorser. And last Friday, one of the organizations, staged a protest in front of the brand’s flagship store in New York (video).
It makes sense to direct attention toward his endorsements because most celebrities only admit or realize they’ve done something wrong when their corporate sponsors abandon them.
But surprisingly, none of the backlash has been levied against Ciroc, where Ross is also signed to an endorsement deal. And up until now, the company has remained silent on the issue which I think is a huge missed opportunity for both the brand and Diddy since the controversial lyrics are about slipping a drug into someone’s drink.
As a spirits company that pays Ross to be a brand ambassador…
I understand that they want to keep the heat and attention off of them, but I believe that Ciroc and its parent company Diageo could have used this situation as an opportunity to launch a PSA about drinking responsibly and how to protect yourself (and your drink) when drinking in a group setting.
They could have issued a statement to accept his apology and strongly condemn the behavior he describes in the lyrics. They could have also arranged some type of sensitivity (aka common sense) training with Ross in an effort to prevent this type of thing from happening again.
As a friend, colleague and the face of a brand that pays Ross to be a brand ambassador…
This could have been a chance for Diddy to leverage his influence in the industry and possibly become a mediator between Ross and the general public. I know that is a lot to ask of someone, but Diddy has a stake in this too since his company employs Ross, and he’s also had to publicly weather some of his own storms.
For that reason, I think he could have effectively counseled Ross behind the scenes and got him to make a more sincere apology and publicly acknowledge the mistake he made in glorifying rape culture, regardless of his original intent.
Had this happened, the situation could have been diffused a lot quicker and the calls for his removal as a brand rep for Reebok could have possibly been avoided.