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The 'Occupy All Streets' Saga

Last week, Jay-Z seemed like the latest rapper to take up the cause of the Occupy Wall Street movement. After Jay-Z and West wrapped up the second show in their Watch the Throne concert series at Madison Square Garden, Russell Simmons tweeted a picture of Jay backstage, sporting a Rocawear shirt that read, “OCCUPY ALL STREET(S).”

"Jay-Z just took #OccupyWallStreet to a whole new level,” tweeted Simmons, a longtime supporter of OWS.  “Wowowowowowoow.”

The shirts--and Jay’s involvement--were well received until Rocawear revealed it had no plans to donate profits to the movement that inspired them.

"The ‘Occupy All Streets’ t-shirt was created in support of the ‘Occupy Wall Street’ movement,” read a statement from the company of which Jay-Z (estimated net worth at $450 million) is the CEO. “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.”

In response to the overwhelming criticism, media sites reported that Rocawear had caved to criticism and pulled the $22 t-shirts from their online site. But on Monday, the shirts reappeared.

“The revolution will not be merchandized! Or will it?” quipped The Washington Post who reported on the reemergence of the tees.

It will. 'Occupy All Street' shirts are now available only on back order, and the site offers an expected ships date of December 16.

Before their initial removal, Patrick Bruner, a spokesman for Occupy Wall Street, told the NY Daily News on Sunday, “Naturally there will be some bloodsuckers who come out of the woodwork,” he said. “A much better way to show your support for Occupy Wall Street would be to show up and participate in this momentous occasion and help to shape a new and better future.”

The Daily News article included a poll asking readers whether Jay was obligated to share his profits off the shirts. Fifty-five percent of readers said he was. (Thirty-seven percent said he wasn’t.)

Over at The Atlantic, Conor Friedersdorf also ripped Hov a new one last week in “Unapologetic Millionaire Jay-Z to Sell 'Occupy All Streets' T-Shirts.”

“It takes all kinds of audacity to be Jay-Z and to bring to market Occupy Wall Street-inspired t-shirt,” Friedersdorf wrote. “The man is arguably the most aggressively unapologetic member of the 1 percent in America. And that's fine, as long as he owns it. What's too much is lauding conspicuous consumption, mocking less wealthy rivals, then trying to profit off OWS.

I respect the arrogance of Rocawear to make the shirts and get away with profiting off a movement that is directly opposed to what they are doing by selling OAS tees. And I’m not surprised. I mean, Jay’s a business, man. But I can’t help but notice the (intentional?) irony of being inspired by a cause that opposes everything you stand for, changing up two letters in its slogan, and then purely profiting off of it.  Isn’t that how the 99% got screwed into the financial mess the country’s facing in the first place?

Would you wear an Occupy All Streets t-shirt? Why or why not?

Demetria L. Lucas is the author of “A Belle in Brooklyn: The Go-to Girl for Advice on Living Your Best Single Life” (Atria) in stores now. Follow her on Twitter @abelleinbk

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SZA Calls For Peace While Receiving 'Rule Breaker' Award At Billboard Women In Music

SZA called for peace and understanding at Billboard's Women In Music event Thursday (Dec. 6).

During her speech for the Rule Breaker award, singer-songwriter recalled today's climate, asking her peers and those watching at home for a little bit of peace.

"I'm sorry for the state of the world honestly, for everybody in this room and I pray that all of us just get through it a little bit easier and just try not to lash out at each other," she said.

The recurring theme of unity among women was also heard on the carpet from artists like Tierra Whack. In addition to her message of love, the "Broken Clocks" singer also thanked her TDE family for rocking with her creative process.

"I'm just so thankful for everybody having patience with me, " she said. Shouting out the key members of her family in attendance, the TDE affiliate gave praise to her mother, father, and grandma. In this brief speech centered around the artist's growth Solána Imani Rowe, known more commonly as her stage name, Rowe everyone for their trust in her.

"I'm grateful for everybody taking the time to have the patience to watch someone grow, it is painful and sometimes exciting but mostly boring. And I am thankful for Top (Top Dawg Entertainment's Anthony Tiffith) for not dropping me from that label. For Peter, who I change my ideas every day and he be like okay I like this," she continued.

Thanking the likes of musical powerhouses like Alicia Keys and Whack, "The Weekend" singer offered her appreciation and condolences to Ariana Grande.

Watch SZA accept the Rule Breaker award above.

READ MORE: Anderson .Paak, Tierra Whack And More Praise Female Artists At 2018 Billboard Women In Music

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Beyoncé, Rihanna, And J. Lo Make Forbes’ Highest-Paid Women In Music List

As November comes to a close, many publications will be crafting their year-end lists for all things pop culture. Forbes released a ranking of the world's highest-paid women in music on Monday (Nov. 19), with Beyoncé, Jennifer Lopez, and Rihanna holding it down for women of color.

Beyoncé comes in at No. 3 on the list with an earning of $60 million as she made most of her money through her historical Coachella performance, the joint album with husband JAY-Z, Everything is Love, and the Carters' On The Run II Tour in support of its release.

Jennifer Lopez made No. 6 for earnings tallying of over $47 million thanks to her lucrative Las Vegas residency, endorsements, and shows including World of Dance where she serves as a judge.

Rihanna follows behind the "Love Don't Cost A Thing" diva at No. 7 with earnings of over $37.5 million. Although she hasn't toured since 2016—thanks to her cosmetics and lingerie lines, Fenty Beauty and Savage Lingerie—the Bajan pop star has been keeping herself busy.

Forbes' annual list (which factors in pretax earnings from June 1, 2017, through June 1, 2018) has placed Katy Perry at the top with over $83 million in profits due to her gig as an American Idol judge and her 80-date Witness: The Tour that brought in an estimated $1 million per night.

Scroll down to see Forbes' full list below.

Katy Perry ($83 million) Taylor Swift ($80 million) Beyoncé ($60 million) P!nk ($52 million) Lady Gaga ($50 million) Jennifer Lopez ($47 million) Rihanna ($37.5 million) Helene Fischer ($32 million) Celine Dion ($31 million) Britney Spears ($30 million)

 

READ MORE: Nas Makes Forbes’ List Of ‘Hip-Hop Cash Kings’ For The First Time

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Kelly Rowland Hops In Her Bag With New Single "Kelly"

Kelly Rowland has it all and isn't afraid to brag about it on her new single, "Kelly."

Released Thursday (Nov. 22), the singer goes the clubby, confident route while rightfully dropping her attributes like her relationship with God, smoldering looks (a.k.a the drip) among other things. With "Kelly" being the first single since her 2013's Talk a Good Game, the singer comes out swinging, reminding everyone of her power in the game.

The mother of one has promised that her new tunes will be edgier and most honest than her past work that included vulnerable tracks like "Dirty Laundry" and massive hits like "Motivation" and "Commander." Speaking with Vogue over the summer, Ms. Kelly disclosed a few details behind the album.

“It’s about love, loss, and gain and whether it’s professional or with family or whatever, it’s just honest," she said. "I had no choice but to be honest and authentic with this record: it’s about friendship and marriage.”

She also explained a drop in confidence caused her hiatus. “I was thinking about pulling back from recording, but I couldn’t help myself: I still wanted to record. I still felt like I was missing something. The third year just came and left so fast. The fourth year I said: ‘I have to get to work’ and now I’m ready to release some music! I felt like I wasted so much time, and it was my husband who actually called me out on it. He said: ‘Babe, as great as those records were, I think you were nervous, you got gun-shy’, and when he said that it was like boom, a gong went off.”

Glad to have you back, Ms. Kelly. Listen to the eponymous record up top.

READ MORE: Kelly Rowland Debuts Smoke x Mirrors Eyewear Collection At Barneys New York

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