CULTURE

Today Is Ja Rule's 11th Birthday

Though he'll be 44 years old, the rapper is one of a handful of celebrities celebrating a leap day birthday.

James Devaney/Getty Images

Being born on February 29th comes with a special kind of strangeness—almost like a crappy superpower.

Like Robin Williams' character in Jack, you seem to age at four times the rate you should. Time passes as it would for everyone else, but you only get to celebrate a birthday every four years. So while, to the rest of us, Ja Rule appears to be 44 years old today, the rapper who brought us hits such as "Always on Time" will be celebrating his 11th birthday 33 years late. Perhaps the judge (assuming he was very confused) took that into consideration this summer when he let Ja Rule, AKA Jeffrey Atkins, off the hook in the $100 million class action lawsuit against the organizers of the Fyre Festival. He may have been a little irresponsible, but who's gonna punish a ten-year-old like that?

Tony Robbins

Among other celebrity leap day birthdays are motivational speaker/(alleged) sexual predator Tony Robbins, who will be celebrating his 15th birthday at 60-years old—in another 12 years he'll be old enough to be tried as an adult!—and Minnesota Vikings Linebacker Eric Kendricks, who weighs in at an impressive 232 lbs—all the more stunning when you consider he will be celebrating his 7th birthday. Supermodel and General Hospital actor Antonio Sabato Jr. was also born on February 29th, and will be celebrating his 12th birthday—hope that doesn't interfere with his political aspirations!—while deceased actor Dennis Farina (Get Shorty, Law & Order) would have celebrated his 19th today. Happy birthday, guys!

This concludes this edition of Useless Celebrity Facts that Are Half True and One Third Interesting. You can go back to your life now.

Culture News

Ja Rule Needs a Friend (Who's Not in Prison)

At a recent show, the rapper urged the crowd to scream obscenities a him. Was this a cry for help or he just realized it's not 2000 anymore?

So, Ja Rule wants to clear the air with his fans.

On Friday, he paused his New Jersey show to ask if anyone had happened to watch the documentaries that painted him as a predatory con artist. The crowd generally responded with the sound that precedes a drawing and quartering in a town square. But Ja Rule was pleased, saying, "Ya'll might be a little mad… so get it out your system, 'cause we ain't gonna do this the rest of the year! Get your middle fingers up!" And like everyone's favorite camp counselor who smoked excellent weed, he made sure the crowd was flipping him off before he led a chant, "Let me hear you say… fuck you Ja Rule!"

After he finished the show without more fanfare, the anti-Ja Rule chant was posted to Instagram, where people were generally confused for the following reasons:

A) Ja Rule still has concerts?

B) Is Ja Rule 50 Cent now?

C) What songs does Ja Rule perform in 2019?

D) How much does Ja Rule miss Jennifer Lopez?

E) Wouldn't New Jersey chant "Fuck you" to anybody?

Ja Rule seems lonely for friends these days. With Fyre Festival's planners facing a $100 million class action lawsuit and Billy McFarland serving a six-year prison sentence for fraud, everyone involved in the giant con, including Ja Rule, has pleaded the fifth. But while Hulu's documentary only hinted that the rapper was deeply involved, Netflix highlighted Ja Rule's insight both before and after the fiasco. Both features have reignited public backlash against those involved, including the 42-year-old rapper, whose bland and pandering apologies convey a man who just wants to be liked.

In the immediate aftermath of Fyre Festival in 2017, Ja Rule took to Twitter to assuage people's worries about the young attendees' safety and, above all, deny any responsibility whatsoever. He posted, "We are working right now on getting everyone of [sic] the island SAFE that is my immediate concern...I'm working to make it right by making sure everyone is refunded...I truly apologize as this is NOT MY FAULT...but I'm taking responsibility I'm deeply sorry to everyone who was inconvenienced by this."

As of January 2019, no Fyre Festival attendee had received a refund from the festival organizers. A few had managed to successfully file disputes with their credit card companies to remove Fyre Fest charges as fraudulent. But in his defense, Ja Rule has been busy this year, as he'll soon begin touring with Ashanti. While he may not need the money as badly as the people who lost thousands at Fyre Fest, he does need his fans; they're his only friends who aren't in jail.


Meg Hanson is a Brooklyn-based writer, teacher and jaywalker. Find Meg at her website and on Twitter @megsoyung.


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