The rapper thanked the former president...who wasn't really involved in the award.
Over the weekend, Atlanta-based hip-hop artist Waka Flocka Flame received a lifetime achievement award for his charitable work from former President Donald J. Trump.
But while it's true that the Flockaveli rapper has done a lot to earn praise for his charitable efforts, the suggestion that Donald Trump was personally involved in granting him the award is misleading.
Waka Flocka Flame Receives Lifetime Achievement Award from Donald Trump | TMZ www.youtube.com
At first blush, the award might seem like exactly the kind of outreach President Trump's failed 2020 reelection campaign was making to major figures in hip-hop in the final months of his tenure. After years of bizarre "friendship" with Kanye West — and possible cooperation on Kanye's own misguided presidential run — Trump's team worked with N.W.A. founder Ice Cube to develop their "Platinum Plan" in collaboration with the rapper's Contract for Black America.
The campaign also allegedly offered 50 Cent $500,000 dollars for an endorsement. The rapper was convinced that a similar offer had been made to Lil Wayne in an effort to gain the Funeral rapper's support.
The promise of a prestigious award could have been offered as an incentive to entice Flocka away from his 2015 criticisms of Trump. That was the year the rapper responded to Trump's infamous "they're not sending their best" speech, which attacked Mexican immigrants, with a tweet saying, "I wonder how many hardworking Mexicans built those #trumptowers."
A fan showed @WakaFlocka a trump jersey while he was performing. Here's what Flocka thought about it..… https://t.co/Rkjbi9GPcg— Alejandro (@Alejandro)1484633236.0
That critical attitude continued into 2017, when he showed a live audience what he thought of Trump by rubbing his ass on a fan's Donald Trump jersey. And when his mom, Deb Antney, came out as a Trump supporter in 2020 on Growing Up Hip Hop: Atlanta, he seemed shocked.
But by October of last year, Flocka was letting people know that he thought Trump was a better president than Barack Obama. Where did this change of heart come from?
Was he paid off? Did his mom manage to convince him? Did Trump win him over with his family separation policy, traumatizing children at the border?
Deb's Political Views Shock Waka! 😱 Growing Up Hip Hop: Atlanta www.youtube.com
Is it possible that Flocka was bought off with the promise that his extensive charitable work would be honored? It's juicy material for a conspiracy theory, but the answer is no — not unless he's a really cheap date.
In reality, the Lifetime Achievement Award for service as a volunteer is a lot closer to the old Presidential Physical Fitness Awards than it is to Rush Limbaugh's Medal of Freedom. The President doesn't have an actual role in determining who is awarded.
Instead, any certifying volunteer organization that's willing to pay a small fee can award their volunteers with either a Presidential Volunteer Service Award or a Lifetime Achievement Award, based on the number of hours they have given to the organization. And whoever is the president at the time just "signs" the certificate.
In this case, Flocka has apparently given at least 4,000 hours of his time to Daughters of Destiny Enterprises — a non-profit that provides free food and diapers to those in need (and also offers classes on becoming a millionaire...) and is run by his pastor Apostle Bridget Outlaw.
So while Flocka responded to the award by saying, "I just want to thank President Trump for recognizing me" — and even included a shout out "to my president" in his Instagram post — it's entirely possible that Donald Trump has no idea who he is and the award with the former president's signature simply took a few months to process and send.
So, no, it's not likely that Flocka — who has previously called out people who show off images and videos of themselves helping others as "corny as ****" — had any deal with Trump to receive this award. If he was bought off, it was the old-fashioned way. Or, like a lot of rich people, Flocka may have abandoned any concern he had for the well-being of immigrants out of a sincere love of tax cuts for the wealthy.
Nonetheless, it's great that he puts in so many hours helping others and that he doesn't like to make a big deal about it. We hope Flocka keeps up the good work...and works on getting back to his old, much better politics.