The White House reportedly wanted rapper A$AP Rocky to publicly thank President Trump for attempting to facilitate his release from a Swedish jail, but A$AP Rocky ghosted them instead. Yahoo News reports that this “bizarre saga” left behind a sea of bruised egos at the White House, but what’s paramount is that Rocky effectively avoided letting the Trump administration use him as a cheap cover for the president’s racism.
Much of the press surrounding this ordeal made it seem as if Kim Kardashian and Kanye West’s close relationship to the White House was the catalyst of Donald Trump’s involvement in the campaign to free Rocky, who was accused of assault after a fight in Stockholm. But the earliest points of contact were through two high-profile black Trump allies, Darrel Scott and Kareem Lanier.
Darrell Scott, a truly despicable Ohio-based pastor, was a Trump surrogate during the 2016 presidential campaign and member of the Trump transition team; Kareem Lanier is the co-chairman of Scott’s Urban Revitalization Coalition, a non-profit that regurgitates Trump’s agenda to black communities. The men were approached by Hassan Muhammad, a mysterious celebrity fixer, in the days following Rocky’s arrest, and they agreed that Rocky’s dilemma would appeal to Trump because of the president’s dedication to “pro-criminal justice reform.”
Here, on planet Earth, this means that they have such a condescending opinion of black people that they thought the optics of a racist like Trump helping a black rapper get out of jail would appeal to black voters.
Through Muhammad, Scott and Lanier reportedly made contact with Rocky’s manager, John Ehmann, whom they say was adamant about Rocky requiring Trump’s intervention. Scott and Lanier promised to get in touch with the White House, but there was one caveat: Rocky would have to say “thank you” when it was all over.
Ehmann allegedly agreed to the terms, telling Scott, “If a serial killer gets Rocky out of jail, I would have no problem saying thank you to the serial killer.”
Apparently thanking President Trump would be more damaging to Rocky’s reputation than a thanking a serial killer, because Rocky has yet to thank Trump for all the hard work he’s done: Sending unhinged tweets about Sweden and dispatching the State Department’s top hostage negotiator while Americans languish abroad without such privileges.
Rocky’s lack of apology immediately caused problems. From Yahoo News:
Lanier and Scott said they began reaching out to Rocky’s team within hours of the rapper’s release. They were expecting a thank-you. “We don’t get a call. We don’t get a call at all,” Scott said.
When they got Ehmann on the phone, Scott said the rapper’s manager “started making all these excuses” about Rocky needing time to travel and “rest.” Scott said he told Ehmann, “I hope you guys aren’t going back on what you said you were going to do.”
Scott told Yahoo News that he was embarrassed to tell Jared Kushner, their point-of-contact in the White House, that communication from the rapper was rapidly breaking down.
Predictably, things got worse!
According to Lanier, Ehmann promised to put a Kushner-Rocky call together within “48 hours.” But then Lanier said Ehmann stopped “returning our text messages.” The two men kept pressing Rocky’s team.
On Aug. 14, a panel of judges announced that they found Rocky guilty of assault but would not require him to serve any prison time. Rocky responded with another broad message of gratitude that didn’t name the White House.
Kushner didn’t get that phone call with Rocky, and as Yahoo reported, there was nary a mention of the White House in Rocky’s Instagram post about his guilty verdict:
Rocky, who really doesn’t owe the president anything in the greater sense, still has a weird record of his own when it comes to saying heinously ignorant shit. In 2015, Rocky famously claimed can’t relate to “Ferguson and shit”—referencing the protests following the death of Michael Brown by a police officer in a Ferguson, Missouri—because he lives in Soho and Beverly Hills. In 2016, an attempt to walk back his comments on The Breakfast Club radio program became an even bigger mess, resulting in ASAP literally saying “all lives matter,” suggesting that “Black Lives Matter” was a bandwagon, and finding time to defend Bill Cosby.
Maybe Rocky didn’t thank Trump because it would have been a public relations nightmare for him to do so. Or maybe Rocky experienced a modicum of political growth since 2016 and has some understanding that the Trump administration was clearly latching onto him for pandering purposes. Either way, the fact that Jared Kushner has been denied yet another encounter with a rapper is reason enough to celebrate.