Black Trump supporters, Darrell Scott and Kareem Lanier, say they are angry that A$AP Rocky and his team failed to thank Donald Trump and the White House for their alleged help in the rapper’s release from Swedish prison last month.
Scott is an Ohio pastor and was one of Trump’s highest-profile African-American supporters during the 2016 campaign, moving on to serve on Trump’s transition team. Lanier is the co-chairman of the Urban Revitalization Coalition, a nonprofit led by Scott dedicated to promoting elements of the Trump agenda to the black community.
According to Yahoo News, Scott and Lanier said they became involved in Rocky’s legal woes after hearing from Hassan Muhammad, a man who describes himself as a “fixer” for high-profile figures in the entertainment industry. Muhammad told the publication that an associate of Rocky’s reached out to him about the rapper’s situation.
“I know how to handle or solve problems,” Muhammad said. He then reached out to the two Trump associates, five days after the Swedish court ruled that Rocky should be detained. “If you are in a situation like this, then there’s only one or two places you call, the White House or the State Department. I know somebody at the White House,” Muhammad told Rocky’s team.
After Muhammad told Lanier and Scott about the case, he connected Lanier with Rocky’s manager, John Ehmann. Lanier said Ehmann was adamant that Rocky needed presidential intervention. “He said if the White House does not get involved, Rocky is screwed,” Lanier recounted.
Scott and Lanier claimed they made it clear to Ehmann that they had one requirement.
“The White House didn’t ask for anything. There were no conditions attached, but my condition and Kareem’s condition was that all I’m asking for you guys to do is say thank you,” Scott recalled telling Rocky’s manager.
According to Scott, Ehmann responded, “If a serial killer gets Rocky out of jail, I would have no problem saying thank you to the serial killer.”
By the time Trump tweeted his support of freeing Rocky, it seems tension had built up between the rapper’s associates and Trump’s allies. Scott and Lanier believed Damien Granderson, one of Rocky’s attorneys, was too “nonchalant” about Trump’s support of the rapper.
Lanier said he “snapped” at Granderson and cursed him out. “I was like, man, you ungrateful motherf***ers, you. I can’t believe you. … We didn’t ask you guys for nothing other than for you guys to be grateful,” Lanier said he told him. “We just want you guys to be appreciative and say thank you.” Granderson never responded with a comment.
Fast forward to August 2, the trial concluded, and Rocky returned to the United States. Lanier and Scott said they began reaching out to Rocky’s team within hours of the rapper’s release, expecting a thank-you. “We don’t get a call. We don’t get a call at all,” Scott said.
Scott said Ehmann “started making all these excuses” about Rocky needing time to travel and “rest,” but said he told Ehmann, “I hope you guys aren’t going back on what you said you were going to do.” On the day of his release, Rocky posted on Instagram thanking fans and friends who supported him with no mention of Trump or his advocates.
According to Lanier, Ehmann promised to put a Kushner-Rocky call together within “48 hours” but then said Ehmann stopped “returning our text messages” after the two men kept pressing Rocky’s team. On August 14, when judges found Rocky guilty of assault but without prison time, Rocky responded on social media again with another broad message of gratitude that again, didn’t name the Trump or the White House.
Lanier and Scott were both upset that Rocky never acknowledged their assistance; Lanier attributed that to the potential backlash an African-American celebrity could face for embracing Trump. “One of the problems that we have as a culture — and I’m talking about black Americans — is herd mentality,” Lanier said. “Right now it’s popular for those guys to bash President Trump.”
The two men said they were left disappointed that Rocky didn’t thank the White House, even if privately. “All he had to do was do a two-minute call to say thank you,” said Scott. “Rocky hasn’t even called us and said, ‘Hey, man, thank you, guys. I appreciate it,’ in private. Just in private.”