The Canadian rapper, in a statement via an Instagram story, responded that the image was not used to promote a clothing brand, as Internet rumor had it.
Instead, it was his way of taking a shot at Hollywood’s treatment of black actors.
The “Walk It Talk It” rapper explained that the photograph was for a “project that was about young black actors struggling to get roles, being stereotyped and type cast.”
“Me and my best friend at the time Mazin Elsadig […] were attempting to use our voice to bring awareness to the issues we dealt with all the time as black actors at auditions,” he added.
“I want to clarify this image in question. This was not from a clothing brand shoot or my music career. This picture is from 2007, a time in my life where I was an actor and I was working on a project that was about young black actors struggling to get roles, being stereotyped and type cast. The photos represented how African Americans were once wrongfully portrayed in entertainment. Me and my best friend at the time Mazin Elsadig who is also an actor from Sudan were attempting to use our voice to bring awareness to the issues we dealt with all the time as black actors at auditions. This was to highlight and raise our frustrations with not always getting a fair chance in the industry and to make a point that the struggle for black actors had not changed much.” – Drake
Too Black Guys, the brand Drake was apparently wearing in the photoshoot, gave a statement to Complex, which you can read below.
“The photo in question was not from a Too Black Guys photoshoot however it did feature clothing from Too Black Guys’ JIM CROW COUTURE/HOUSE OF CROW collection which was released in 2008. The collection featured several graphics that highlighted the painful and dangerous period of the Jim Crow Era. Too Black Guys has a history of representing the black experience in an unapologetic way. Although this was not an image from any of our photoshoots, we feel that Drake, who is a long- time friend of the brand, was brilliantly illustrating the hypocrisy of the Jim Crow Era. The subtleties of Drake, a young black man, mimicking how white men used to mimic and dehumanize black people may be lost in a rap battle but we should not be distracted from the issues that are still affecting our communities.”