Controversy continues to swirl around the Roc Nation and NFL partnership.
As part of their collaborative Inspire Change initiative, the entities have pledged to donate $400,000 to two Chicago-based youth organizations: the BBF (Better Boys Foundation) Family Services and the Crushers Club. The latter nonprofit was scheduled to receive its $200,000 Thursday, coinciding with a free concert featuring Inspire Change advocates Meek Mill and Meghan Trainor; however, hours before the event was to take place, the Crushers Club was hit with backlash over a series resurfaced tweets.
As pointed out by Twitter user @RzstProgramming, the Crushers Club account features photos of its president, Sally Hazelgrove, cutting the dreadlocks off two black youths who were presumably involved with the organization. The images were posted on social media with disconcerting captions:
This practice of cutting off children's locs was immediately criticized as racist, as it perpetuates harmful stereotypes and suggests a "professional" appearance is strictly tied to European standards.
Following the backlash, the Crushers Club posted a Twitter video in which "Kobe"—one of the purported youths whose dreadlocks were cut—defended the practice.
"Cut my hair like three years ago, that was something I wanted to do," he said. "I was tired of it, tired of gangbanging, tired of messing up."
Message from Kobe pic.twitter.com/haXsiKrjnm— crushersclub (@crushersclub) September 5, 2019
Hazelgrove told TMZ she cut the boy's hair at his request.
"The Crusher’s Club does not have any policies prohibiting dreadlocks — we welcome all hairstyles from our youth," Hazelgrove said in a statement. "On occasion, our kids look to change their hairstyles and ask us to assist, especially since haircuts can be a costly expense for them. Our goal is — and will always be — to equip our youth with the resources to improve their neighborhoods, maximize their potential and develop into the leaders of tomorrow."
But the controversy didn't end there. @RzstProgramming also highlighted other questionable tweets from the Crushers Club account—one of which included the dismissive phrase "ALL LIVES MATTER," while another stated, "We need Trump to help us" as Chicago struggles with gun violence.
A source connected to Thursday's Inspire Change event said the Crushers Club will still receive the $200,000 donation, and claimed the backlash against the nonprofit and its president was a form of "reverse racism."