November 15th, 2011
04:41 AM GMT
(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.
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.