Silento, creator of the breakout platinum smash hit, “Watch Me (Whip/Nae Nae),” has officially been indicted in Georgia for the murder of a family member. The 23-year-old rapper, née Richard “Ricky” Hawk, was initially arrested in connection to the shooting death of his cousin, 34-year-old Frederick Rooks, this past February. According to his team, Hawk, who previously told VIBE he’s leading a new style of hip-hop for his generation with “no cursing,” has battled with mental health issues for years.
“Please send my client Silento some positive vibrations,” Hawk’s publicist Chanel Hudson wrote in the caption of an Instagram post at the time of the arrest. “Over the past several years, Ricky has been suffering immensely from a series of mental illnesses. We will continue in his efforts of treatment, but we ask in the meantime the public uplift him and his family in immediate prayer & positive energy!! Ricky is a beautiful soul, and we hope that the same people who came up whippin’ and nay naying with him, continue to support him and lifted in prayer. God bless.”
The indictment was issued on Aug. 3 by a grand jury on multiple charges including malice murder, felony murder, aggravated assault, and possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony. Hawk’s arrest came in the weeks following the death of Rooks, who was found by police with multiple gunshot wounds to the face and legs. He died on the scene as a result of those injuries.
Police officers in DeKalb county quickly named Hawk, who has a history of violent behavior, as a suspect in the crime, leading to his arrest and eventual indictment. Prior to his alleged involvement in the death of Rooks, Hawk had previously been arrested twice in 2020, first for attacking strangers with a hatchet after walking into their home unannounced, then for allegedly driving at 134 mph. The rapper was also held on domestic charges in California one day before the hatchet incident.
Hawk, who reached No. 3 on the Billboard Hot 100 at just 17 in 2015 with “Watch Me (Whip/Nae Nae),” is currently being held without bond at DeKalb County Jail in Georgia.