Rap Shirts for White People designer Tim Blount says his shirts are "lame." With phrases like "I got 99 problems getting a cab ain't one," some people even find them slightly offensive. But now that most of the proceeds have been pledged to celebrity charities, Blount hopes that the critics will just laugh—like most people do when they see the shirts.
XXL recently caught up with Blount, who hopes Rihanna will one day wear one of the tees, to see how he feels about the controversy, and what sparked the idea. Check out a few excerpts from the interview below.
On how he came up with the idea for Rap Shirts For White People:
"I was listening to Juicy and it occurred to me that I have never even seen a real copy of Word Up! Magazine. I made the HIGHLIGHTS shirt first. I remembered reading an article about Forever 21 getting in trouble for showing White models in N.W.A T-shirts, so I thought it would be fun to make some rap shirts that would more accurately represent the White experience. I realize that pointing out the irony of upper/middle class White people loving rap is nothing new, but I think I just hit on a new way to express it."
On whether or not he thinks the shirts are racist:
"I’ve learned that when you deal in racial humor, some people are bound to interpret it as racism. It makes me sick to my stomach to think people are honestly seeing these as promoting a type of racial superiority. As an act of good faith (and because White people love charity), I’ve committed to donating 100 percent of all my profits from these shirts to various charities tied to each artist. Here’s the list:
The Wu-Charitable Foundation
The Christopher Wallace Memorial Foundation
The New York Women’s Foundation
The American Civil Liberties Union
The Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation
The Apollo Theater Foundation
The T.R.U. Foundation
Dixon Hall, Toronto
The Snoop Youth Football League
The Centennial High School Music Department
The Shawn Carter Scholarship Foundation
There may still be people who think this Tumblr shouldn’t exist, but I’ve gotten so much overwhelming support and positive feedback from most people I think it would be a shame to take it down on account of a few dissenters. (Also when I said White people love charity, please note that I did not imply that they love it any more than any other race of people.)"
On making more “Rap Shirts For White People” after this release:
"I plan to keep it going as long as people are interested. I’ve been posting new lines on Twitter."
On what he thinks about people saying his shirts are lame and offensive:
"First off, they’re lame by design, because… White people. And I can’t keep people from having their opinions, so I hope giving up the money makes people less likely to get pissed and more likely to laugh, which is what most people do when they see these."
On sending Rihanna a T-shirt:
"I just FedEx’d a FUND THA POLICE shirt to Rihanna, since it’s clearly a cause she believes in. I really hope she wears it."
Read the full interview here.