AmaKipKip responds to criticism from Nadia Nakai and AKA’s brother on unauthorised merch

AKA and Steffan Forbes. Picture: Instagram/@akaworldwide

AKA and Steffan Forbes. Picture: Instagram/@akaworldwide

Published Aug 10, 2023


Local hip-hop streetwear brand AmaKipKip has come under fire after it started selling T-shirts plastered with images of the late rapper Kiernan “AKA” Forbes.

AKA’s younger brother, Steffan Forbes, brought attention to the situation when he responded to a post from the brand’s Instagram account in which they were selling T-shirts with AKA’s images on them with the comment, “No shame @amakipkipstore.”

Long-time AKA super fan Rubu Thulisa then posted a screenshot of the post and criticised the brand on Twitter, “The audacity for @AmakipkipGlobal to make this announcement without the family’s approval let alone consulting with them first proves their business ethics are questionable & these stunts will not be tolerated by the MEGACY!”

This then prompted a comment from Nadia Nakai, “WTF!!! I thought Les just made one for himself… 😡” Nakai was referring to an AmaKipKip T-shirt that rapper Da LES wore with a similar design.

As this began to draw more and more attention, AmaKipKip released a statement publicly apologising to the Forbes family, AKA’s fans and the general public.

“Dear Lynn, Tony & Steffan Forbes, the AKA Family, The MEGACY, our esteemed fans, and the wider public, we want to address a recent situation that has sparked concern and distress within our community,” they wrote.

“We extend our deepest apologies for any hurt caused by our recent release of a tribute T-shirt for the late rapper AKA, without obtaining consent from the entire family. Our intention was never to cause offence, but rather to pay homage to AKA's legacy and seek justice.”

The statement went on to add that in hip-hop culture honouring icons through tributes is a long-standing tradition and their tribute T-shirt was conceived as a “sincere expression of our respect for AKA's profound impact on the music industry”.

Citing other luminaries like 2Pac and Biggie, the brand also explained that the tribute was a way of celebrating AKA’s artistry and was meant as a way of commemorating his life.

“Regrettably, we underestimated the significance of obtaining consent from the entire AKA Family, and for this oversight, we are truly sorry. We recognise that our actions did not align with the reverence and respect that AKA's memory deserves.”

They added that they have taken immediate action to rectify this situation by discontinuing the tribute T-shirts in question.

“Furthermore, we are committed to engaging in a comprehensive review of our procedures to ensure that our endeavour's consistently uphold the values of empathy, integrity, and the authentic honouring of legacies we aspire to achieve.”