September 19, 2019

Why Trump Cares About A$AP Rocky's Sweden Arrest

““We don’t want to fight y’all. We’re not trying to go to jail.”

That’s what A$AP Rocky, the 30-year-old New York City rapper, can be heard saying in a video of an encounter with strangers in Sweden that has ballooned into an international crisis. Despite Rocky’s protestation, a fight did happen. The rapper is now in jail. His saga has inflamed American pop culture and politics—and somehow brought left-leaning figures and Donald Trump–supporting nationalists to advocate for the same goal: Rocky’s release.

In two videos that Rocky posted on Instagram, two unidentified young men follow and annoy Rocky and his team around Stockholm. At one point, one of the guys appears to throw headphones at Rocky’s bodyguard. Rocky and his bodyguard repeatedly ask them to go away. The men keep tailing the rapper’s entourage; they repeatedly ask for their headphones back. A woman comes up to Rocky’s group and says that one of the men “slapped my ass and my girlfriend’s ass.” The footage cuts out.

Another video that’s been posted online shows Rocky and his associates throwing one of the men to the ground and beating him. Swedish prosecutors say CCTV footage demonstrates that Rocky’s crew “punched, kicked, and struck [the teenage Mustafa Jafari] with a glass bottle in an attack that lasted several minutes.” Rocky has been in Swedish detention since July 5, and on July 25 prosecutors charged him and two other men with assault; he says he’s innocent and acted only in self-defense. The trial begins Tuesday. Rocky could get up to two years in prison, and his lawyer argued in court that he’s already lost at least $1 million from canceled tour dates.”

Read more

JJ Editor's Picks

"Blackface. I’ve been writing about, and researching – and opposing – racism for more than thirty years. And make no mistake: blackface isn’t funny. It’s racist. Ask Megyn Kelly. A year ago, the former Fox News star was filming a segment about..."

"Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s “selfie line” may be a “political phenomenon,” according to CNN, but it’s also a misnomer, twice over: The photos that supporters end up with aren’t technically selfies—campaign aides snap them—and no one waits in a line..."

"In the archives of the Wildlife Conservation Society in New York, there is an old postcard from the city aquarium of a large sea turtle with four boys straddling its back. The turtle lies flattened upon a pathway in front of a fence. At the feet..."

"As we celebrated my granddaughter’s third birthday this summer, I made the following rough calculation: I’d trekked from my home in New Jersey to her Brooklyn apartment roughly 150 times to provide once-a-week day care, plus other times as needed."

"That seems to be the emerging bipartisan consensus. “On the evidence we have, the meritocratic ideal ends up being just as undemocratic as the old emphasis on inheritance and tradition,” writes New York Times columnist Ross Douthat. “Our..."

"It was the 2019 Pet Sematary that finally broke me. Was this really necessary? I seethed in a theater earlier this year, at a loss for why anyone would green light a self-serious update to a 30-year-old so-bad-it's-good movie. "Update," even, was.."

"Tuesday was election day in Israel. But no winner has yet been declared. As of this writing, it appears that the parties committed to supporting Benjamin Netanyahu for prime minister will not win a majority in Knesset. At the same time, the..."

"The last time Netflix asked me “Are you still watching?” I had to think really hard about it. Was I still watching? Or at least enough to make my $16-a-month payment worth it? The subscription economy can be a wonderful thing. We don’t have to..."