50 Cent explained the stacks of cash he has posted on social media to a Connecticut bankruptcy judge as fake bills. The rapper, whose real name is Curtis Jackson, had to convince the judge that the piles of cash spelling the word “Broke” was just fake money, according to CNN Money.
This comes after Jackson was ordered him to pay $5 million to a woman who accused him of posting a sex tape of her online. Curtis was eventually ordered to pay her an additional $2 million.
In a February hearing in bankruptcy court, the judge, Ann Nevins, said that the photos caused her to be “concerned about allegations of nondisclosure and a lack of transparency.”
But Jackson claimed in a court filing that the cash in his Instagram pictures was “prop money.”
“Just because I am photographed in or next to a certain vehicle, wearing an article of clothing, holding a product, sitting next to what appears to be large sums of money or modeling expensive pieces of jewelry does not meant that I own everything in those photos,” he wrote.
The Instagram posts were brought to the court’s attention by 50 Cent’s creditors, who said in a court document that the pictures were, “at a minimum, openly contemptuous” of the bankruptcy process.
The case represents a clash between the opulent lifestyle that many hip-hop artists promote in their music, videos and public personas, and the staid reality of Chapter 11 court proceedings.
Social media has become a notable tool of hip-hop culture and often functions as an extension of an artist’s public image, an extra-musical companion meant to lend credence to the boasts of wealth and masculinity promoted in the songs.
Rap feuds, which used to be carried out in song, now often migrate to platforms such as Twitter and Instagram. Jackson has used his Instagram account to taunt the Philadelphia rapper Meek Mill, in between posting pictures that appeared to show off his assets, like one of his refrigerator filled with cash.
50 Cent, who enjoyed enormous commercial success with his music when he first emerged on the scene, appeared to strike gold with various product and merchandising deals over the years. Notably, after he endorsed Glaceau’s grape-flavored line of vitamin water, he became a shareholder of the Queens manufacturer. His investment turned into a windfall after Coca-Cola bought Glaceau in 2007 for $4.1 billion.
But more recently, failed business ventures and several lawsuits that resulted in penalties of more than $25 million against Jackson caused him to re-evaluate his financial situation and file for bankruptcy.
Jackson gestured in his own court filings at the thin line between persona and reality, stating that “the separation between ’50 Cent’ and Curtis Jackson is virtually impossible to maintain.”
“Since the explosion of social media, I have maintained a strong social media presence that is consistent with the public persona of ’50 Cent,’ ” he added.
On Wednesday, Jackson’s lawyers disclosed in court that they and the creditors who hold the vast majority of Jackson’s debt have come to an agreement.
If the hearing left 50 Cent feeling chastened, he certainly did not show it on social media. Late in the afternoon, he posted a new picture of himself with stacks of cash in his waistband to Twitter and Instagram.