Harlem-born VLONE designer A$AP Bari (real name Jabari Shelton) is under fire for a 15-second clip that has emerged showing a woman in bed with a man, surrounded by two men, one who is filming the clip and the other who has been identified as Bari. Initially she’s shot under the covers and sounds distressed as Bari attempts to pull the covers off of her.
Bari is then heard telling the woman, “If you f*cked my assistant, you can suck my dick.” The woman is shot naked as she leaves the room, sounding clearly distressed, and is heard loudly saying no. [Reddit has links to the video.]
The video is said to have been shot after London’s Wireless Festival, which took place July 6-9, 2017, an event Bari was known to have attended. There have been tweets posted by someone who is claiming to be the woman under assault in the video, but there has been no confirmation that they are actually her.
A$AP Mob member Ian Connor has been putting a lot of energy into pushing the video, tweeting that the “tables have turned,” likely a reference to a fight he got into with Bari and Theophilus London at Colette in Paris in June 2016, a dust up allegedly caused by the multiple rape and assault accusations Connor was accused of in the months leading up to the Colette event.
Given the disturbing nature of the Bari assault video, it’s bizarre and sick that Connor would see this as a victory lap, but that should be a reminder of the kind of person he is.
ASAP Crew’s questionable moral compass was also reflected in an interview A$AP Rocky conducted with Rap Radar in January 2017. In the exchange, he brushed off the Connor rape allegations and also described Connor and Bari as brothers who don’t get along well.
Bari’s VLONE brand is currently engaged in collaborative efforts with Nike and many on social media have pushed for Nike to end the relationship. As much effort as Nike puts into promoting equality, it would seem highly hypocritical for it to continue working with Bari after this video.
That said, after the Colette dust up, there was an expectation that Connor’s career would be over and done with, but he continued to receive jobs and verbal endorsements from prominent individuals, including Kanye West. As such, the expectation of anything coming from the Bari video, especially given the woman on the video hasn’t spoken out, is very low.
Still, fashion corporations all have their limits and the bar for getting away with bad behavior is a lot lower for minorities. As such, those who either champion or silently support people like Bari and Connor should understand they’re creating risk for their own brands, and also the opportunities afforded them.