November 15th, 2011
04:41 AM GMT
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(CNN) - What does “the 1%” see when viewing news reports on the Wall Street demonstrators camping in the cold to protest wealth disparity? Apparently one rich rapper sees an opportunity to make money.

Rapper and business mogul Shawn Carter, better known as Jay-Z, has debuted a collection of t-shirts on his Rocawear line playing off the Occupy Wall Street movement. The shirts, which are selling for $22.99 and read "Occupy All Streets”, were wiped from the brand's website over the weekend in response to allegations that Carter – whose net worth is estimated at $450 million – was trying to profit from the 99%, but are back up again.

Although Carter sold Rocawear to Iconix Brand Group in 2007 for $204 million, according to the New York Times, he continues to be creatively involved in the brand.

The Occupy Wall Street movement is a call to fight against unequal wealth distribution. The movement originated in New York City but has since inspired similar protests in cities around the world. Clashes between protesters and police in many U.S. are making headlines. Some city leaders are saying the local protest camps are becoming a threat to public safety, as police in riot gear tore down tents and arrested protesters at the Occupy Oakland encampment in California yesterday.

Rocawear has not indicated any plans to distribute profits from the shirts to the protesters, according to Business Insider, claiming the shirts are designed to raise awareness.

"'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," Rocawear said in a statement.

The shirt was first made public on fellow hip-hop mogul Russell Simmons' Twitter account, where he shared a picture of himself with Carter wearing the shirt, tweeting "Jay-Z just took #OccupyWallStreet to a whole new level." Simmons has been a loud supporter of the Occupy Wall Street movement on his Twitter account.

Despite widespread criticism among protesters, some defend Carter's T-shirts, wondering where they can be purchased. One user with the username RupertPupkin_ defended Carter saying, "if I was Hov I woulda been like f*** y'all I worked hard to be in the 1%," using one of the rapper's many nicknames.

In New York City, the Body Shop, which advertises "natural, ethically produced beauty products" on their website, was trying to lure customers in by shouting "Occupy Body Shop and get a 20% discount," Forbes' Scott Goodson reported.

"In the end movement marketing gets results, but it's got to have taste, authenticity and help to make a difference," Goodson wrote.

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soundoff (16 Responses)
  1. 99problems

    Honestly its sad. that I know a few people who are in the process of creating shirts like these though because of funding issues of printing and no networks to reach millions of people with one post these 1% just killed their idea.

    November 15, 2011 at 5:48 am |
  2. captin spaulding

    The profitsa should go towards the occupy protestors to make sure they all have the latest ipads and iphones!

    November 15, 2011 at 11:40 am |
  3. CullThePopulace

    Carter and Simmons: two, no-talent, greedy urban predators that are interested in indulgent, self-righteous behaviorism. Exactly like pagan priest, Larry Wells of Wells Real Estate. Look him up. Thieves need to remember: dust to dust.

    November 15, 2011 at 11:41 am |
  4. P.I.G.S

    Let's Occupy Jay-Z's Street !!!!

    November 15, 2011 at 12:37 pm |
  5. HowlinWolves

    Jay Z is possibly one of the worst and most offensive examples of the 1%. The ostentatious way he and Beyonce live is what inspires greed. His music and videos, all about 'bling', drinking Cristal etc. is plastered all over the media, making people envy that wealthy lifestyle. This, in turn, makes people greedy for more money so they can attain that lifestyle. Jay-Z is possibly the poster child for the 1% because he advertises and promotes his shallow, materialistic lifestyle. Now he's shamelessly trying to make money off the Occupiers. Can' people see what an opportunistic cheeseball he is?

    November 15, 2011 at 1:45 pm |
  6. ELChango

    OCCUPY JAY Z........

    I can't believe that monkey!

    November 15, 2011 at 1:47 pm |
  7. Dinesh

    Such losers. One half is selling her baby bump for publicity now that her album flopped and her lack of talent is dawning on everybody. The other is making money off the Occupy movement that is actually making a stand for something real. Urgh!

    November 15, 2011 at 2:20 pm |
  8. Jeroen

    WHAHAHAHA see the people whine and cry that he is making money fo the 99%! God people...THEN DO NOT BUY THE T-SHIRT! Only way for him to make money is for people to buy the stuff, your not being forced.

    In-fact the production fo those t-shirt create jobs! (well in Mexico, but hey they need jobs to!). I do not blame the guy for making easy money. We all would do that if given the change and resources. I blame the poeple willing to pay such a price for a simple t-shirt

    November 15, 2011 at 2:34 pm |
  9. jzhater

    Jay z should go into retirement for the 7th time in his career and leave this meaningful movement alone. Hes such a sleezebag with his white-wana be wife!!!

    November 15, 2011 at 3:02 pm |
  10. Anonymous2011

    JAY Z is a joke! KUDOS to him though for making a successful career out of being the self proclaimed J-hov and "hustler, baby" extraordin­aire. But just like Bernie Madoff (who made- off with a lot of people’s money) and the countless Wall Street carpetbagg­ers, all good pillagers will have there day in hell. Harsh but I call ‘em like I see ‘em. It’s up to us citizens to stand up to and revolt against the mind control of a diabolical few. Society now is too close to the society predicted in George Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Fou­r. To J’s credit, at least he's honest about his exploitati­ve avarice. He slung crack rock to his people in the projects back in the day, and he continues to (now world-wide­) with his whole empire. He’s keeps true to his roots and does what he does best. MONEY IS HIS GOD. It’s not like he’s got anything to hide; he’s very vocal about all he is and stands for. However he and Kanye (now reduced to Jay-Z’s sidekick) are still puppets on a string to the more powerful businessma­n who make healthy profits off the over-the-t­op rappers. Jay Z's whole shtick, that he's the pied piper with the inside knowledge that only the cool kids follow, is crumbling at the seams by his own hands; be it yours or be it the witless decisions of his management.

    November 15, 2011 at 9:22 pm |
  11. mrmigrator

    while you are all busy hating jay Z( and beyonce), remmeber some things! he is an artist and a bussiness man. sold his art for money. just like Lady gaga, madonna, eltion john, or micheal angelo! so if he can make money while spreading a good meassage too, why hate? isnt that what its all about? if recycling and non pollution and charitable endervours can be profitable, whats the beef? beside, how many diots here have bothered to check how much Jay has put back into society before slamming him? its easy to make comments on your home keyboard, HOW MANY OF YOU WENT OUT AND DID ANYTHING? how many of you will ever come close to that 1% from your own hard work and tears? no one is being forced to buy the damn T-shirt.

    November 16, 2011 at 4:02 am |
  12. Troy

    Pay attention 99%ers, this is how the 1% makes money in a capitalist society. Wish him luck in his venture, compete with his business, or move to a socialist country.

    November 19, 2011 at 5:45 pm |
  13. Troy

    @99problems Hello, where do you live? It's a dog eat dog America sunshine. You should be thankful we have the opportunity's we have. Also, facebook is free advertising. If your friends haven't figured out how to at least get exposure through free resources, then they deserve to fail.

    November 19, 2011 at 5:50 pm |
  14. rodwick

    Every purchase you make in a free market economy is a vote.

    November 20, 2011 at 1:26 am |
  15. Cruddy

    Thats the capitalistic way. He has every right to market his shirts. You have every right not to buy one. Thats how people make money in this system. Anticipating a void and filling it. Money is not the root of all evil. Money is neutral. Money can do amazing things in the right persons hands just like it can do bad things in the right persons hand. I like that the OWS is seeking change. However, if they think that keeping people from making a profit is the way then they are dead wrong. Remember you do not have to consume everything they advertise on TV

    December 6, 2011 at 4:56 pm |

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