3.2.10 --- A promotional billboard for Atlanta rapper T.I.’s AKOO clothing brand has encountered less than positive reaction among residents in Newark, New Jersey.
The billboard, which is prominently displayed on the corner of Market and Washington Streets, features a woman knelt down in front of a guy whose jeans are unbuckled with his underwear exposed and the woman’s hands grabbing his jeans.
Those noticing the advertisement did not hesitate in expressing their disdain as they deemed it “offensive.”
Founded by T.I. and fellow Grand Hustle Entertainment co-founder Jason Geter, AKOO offers various types of clothing that include blue jeans, jackets and shirts.
The clothing brand’s name is an acronym that stands for A King of One’s Self.
Newark major Cory Booker echoed the concerns of onlookers over the suggestive advertisement while vowing to take a stand against questionable images that are present in his city.
“So often when I am out in the community I see kids wearing their pants too low and others using inappropriate language in public,” Booker said in a statement. “I will work with my city council to see if we can address it so we don’t see these types of advertisements displayed in our city in the near future.”
News of the controversy triggered an immediate reaction from AKOO, which issued a statement on the controversy and criticism surrounding the billboard.
“The AKOO brand has always aimed to inspire individualism and creativity. Our advertising campaign was not created to offend or insult anyone but to simply provoke dialogue and thought regarding male/female sexuality within urban culture,” the company said as it alluded to exposing more sides of the brand in future promotions.
“We hope that as more of the campaign is debuted, people will see the multifaceted personality of AKOO.”
Despite AKOO’s statement, the company attempt was not enough to say Newark City Council President Mildred Crump, who feels the AKOO billboard is an example of a lack of regard over the impact of images that paint a negative picture of the city.
“I’m so sick of people seeing Newark as a place where they can do whatever they want,” she said. “They think they can put it in a Black community and nobody is going to say or do anything,”