Arrested for assault in Sweden’s capital on July 2, the Harlem rapper was deemed a flight risk and denied bond. With reports suggesting Rocky was being subjected to inhumane conditions, including solitary confinement for up to 23 hours a day, the story has steadily morphed into a human rights issue.
Naturally, this requires the assistance of one person in particular – Kim Kardashian. The reality TV star turned criminal justice reform advocate took to Twitter overnight to thank President Donald Trump, senior adviser Jared Kushner and secretary of state Mike Pompeo for their “efforts to free A$AP Rocky”.
Thank you @realDonaldTrump , @SecPompeo, Jared Kushner & everyone involved with the efforts to Free ASAP Rocky & his two friends. Your commitment to justice reform is so appreciated https://t.co/Ym1Rzo5Z6c— Kim Kardashian West (@KimKardashian) 18 July 2019
Kardashian’s intervention comes after the #FreeRocky campaign has taken over social media for the past two weeks. When news of Rocky’s arrest was shared by his long-time friend A$AP Ferg, artists like Tyler the Creator, Schoolboy Q and Tyga expressed their desire to boycott Sweden moving forward.
Rep. Adriano Espaillat, who represents Rocky’s native Harlem, joined the efforts, calling on Pompeo to step up and help.
“We are calling on Secretary Pompeo to do more,” Espaillat told ABC News. “This is not enough. It is unconscionable that young men that are doing well, they are on the right track in life, they're very successful, they're icons in the hip-hop community, [and] are treated under these inhuman conditions.”
The public outcry clearly had some effect, prompting Sweden’s ambassador to the US Karin Olofsdotter to release a statement assuring black people they will not unfairly persecuted if they were to visit the Scandinavian country.
“I would say that [black people] are more than welcome to Sweden,” Olofsdotter told TMZ. “And actually Sweden is ranked top five countries in the world when it comes to rule of law. So I would say it's perfectly safe and people are of course more than welcome. The more Americans who want to come to Sweden, the better!”
With no assurances coming about Rocky’s release, Kanye reportedly asked wife Kim to step in and help. The 38-year-old got on the phone with Jared Kushner who called his father-in-law President Trump. The White House reportedly expressed agreement that Rocky’s is being treated unfairly.
If you think a former reality TV star being called in as the last resort to help solve an international human rights issue sounds the sort of absurd headline that only 2019 can bring, you’d probably be right.
But these are strange times, and right now, Kim Kardashian may be the best we have.
It’s not the first time, of course, the 38-year-old has lobbied for a prisoner’s release. In May last year Kardashian met with Kushner and Trump to seek the pardon of Alice Marie Johnson, an African American woman serving life imprisonment for drug trafficking offenses. Kardashian successfully argued the case was indicative of the harsher penalties imposed on America’s people of colour and Johnson was relased the following month having served 21 years in prison.
Kardashian’s ability to move the levers of power is arguably a sign of the growing influence of celebrities. Which is most likely absolutely true.
It is also most likely a sign of something else, a truth as old as time itself.
And that is, if you want a group of old men with big but fragile egos to do something, it’s not unwise for a beautiful woman to pretend she likes them. A stroke or two of the ego later, and said group of old men become surprisingly malleable.
Just ask Jared, Donald and Mike.
It’s unclear if Rocky will be as lucky as Alice Marie Johnson in getting a swift release, but one thing is for certain, if anyone can make a difference, Kim can.