Wiz Khalifa is doing damage control (sort of, anyway) after he sparked controversy by visiting Pablo Escobar’s tomb during a recent visit to Colombia. Khalifa was in Medellin to perform at a music festival and stopped by the infamous drug lord’s resting place to smoke a joint and take a gravesite picture. The post showing the actual headstone surrounded by colorful flowers has since been removed from Khalifa’s account, but the images of him smoking remain intact.
The rapper isn’t shy about his smoking habit (or weed business), and his Instagram account is filled with pictures of him partaking in the activity, so it wasn’t completely out of character for him to add this to his collection. Not surprisingly, however, many people found the action offensive.
In an interview with local media, Medellin’s mayor, Federico Gutiérrez, blasted the star, saying, “That scoundrel, instead of bringing flowers to Pablo Escobar, he should have brought flowers to the victims of violence in this city.” The mayor then demanded Khalifa “offer an apology to the city” and noted that he was “not welcomed” back. Colombia’s drug violence surged in the late 1980s, leading to thousands of casualties — eventually, Escobar was killed in a shootout with authorities in Medellin, in 1993.
Commenters tried to educate and/or berate the rapper. “Drug lords are no ones friends and don’t need to be glorified,” wrote viticobl. “Pay some respect for the people that died during the war against narcos, pay respect to a country that’s trying to get out from all the economic and cultural problems that this time marked. RESPECT AND DON’T BE STUPID. Do what you want in your country but don’t come to insult my Medellin and my Colombia. THINK!!!,” wrote commenter danisalerno13.
“Yea let’s pour some out for the lil homie Osama Bin Laden while we at it…” one user wrote beside one of the pics. Many others echoed that sentiment, drawing comparisons between Bin Laden and Escobar and declaring Khalifa’s visit to the site “disrespectful.”
Realizing his posts might not have been the best move, two days later, Khalifa issued a semiformal apology, also via Instagram. “Didn’t mean to offend anyone with my personal activities in Colombia but I’m glad we came and got work done and everyone was safe,” he wrote. “Peace and love.” The accompanying photo features Amber Rose‘s ex standing with his arms up in the air, shrugging — perhaps conveying that he meant nothing by his visit to the gravesite or his posts memorializing the event.
The social media post probably wasn’t the formal apology to the people of the city that the mayor had in mind, but it was also probably better than nothing. Still no word, however, on whether Khalifa is now welcome to return.
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