AmaKipKip, a local retailer of hip-hop fashion in South Africa, has come under fire after it began offering T-shirts with photographs of the late musician Kiernan “AKA” Forbes.
Steffan Forbes, AKA’s younger brother, raised awareness of the problem when he left the comment “No shame @amakipkipstore” in response to a post from the brand’s Instagram account that featured T-shirts featuring AKA’s images on them.
Rubu Thulisa, a devoted longtime supporter of AKA, then shared a screenshot of the article and criticized the company on Twitter,“The audacity for @AmakipkipGlobal to make this announcement without the family’s approval let alone consulting with them first proves their business ethics are questionable & these stunts will not be tolerated by the MEGACY!”
Nadia Nakai then reacted by saying, “WTF!!! ” I believed Les simply created one for himself. Rapper Da LES donned a T-shirt with a similar design made by AmaKipKip, to which Nakai was alluding.
AmaKipKip issued a statement publically apologizing to the Forbes family, AKA’s supporters, and the general public as this started to garner more and more attention.
“Dear Lynn, Tony & Steffan Forbes, the AKA Family, The MEGACY, our esteemed fans, and the wider public, we want to address a recent situation that has sparked concern and distress within our community,” they wrote.
“We extend our deepest apologies for any hurt caused by our recent release of a tribute T-shirt for the late rapper AKA, without obtaining consent from the entire family. Our intention was never to cause offence, but rather to pay homage to AKA’s legacy and seek justice.”
According to the statement, paying tribute to icons is a long-standing practice in hip-hop culture, and the tribute T-shirt was created as a “sincere expression of our respect for AKA’s profound impact on the music industry.”
The firm added that the tribute was a method to celebrate AKA’s artistry and was intended as a way to remember his life, citing other notables like 2Pac and Biggie.
“Regrettably, we underestimated the significance of obtaining consent from the entire AKA Family, and for this oversight, we are truly sorry. We recognise that our actions did not align with the reverence and respect that AKA’s memory deserves.”