Lil Wayne Draws Criticism over Troubled Skatepark in New Orleans
Published May 06, 2014If there's one thing Lil Wayne loves as much as rap, it's skateboarding, and a couple of years back, he aimed to share his love with his home city by endorsing a skatepark in New Orleans. The Trukstop Skatepark had its grand opening in 2012, but Weezy is now attracting criticism as the park has floundered.
The park was originally part of a partnership with Mountain Dew, and brand strategy firm Glu Agency signed a lease agreement to cover the mortgage and maintenance. However, this apparently didn't extend to electricity, plumbing, or heating and cooling. The park was reportedly short staffed and remained closed after failing an electrical inspection.
Eventually, Wayne lost his deal with the soft drink company following his controversial reference to Emmett Till in Future's track "Karate Chop," and he's no longer involved with the park. Making matters worse, public perception that the rapper was associated with the park (and the Lower 9th Ward Village community centre that houses it) meant that donations have dried up. The mortgage has apparently not been paid off, and the skatepark is in danger of being shut permanently.
Wayne said in a statement to the Times-Picayune [via AllHipHop.com], "It was my intention, through my relationship with brand partners, to provide the good people of New Orleans with a skatepark. I skate every day and wanted the kids in my hometown to be able to skate in a safe place for free. Unfortunately, the deal did not work out, and due to issues beyond my control, I am no longer involved with the skatepark. Helping New Orleans has always been important to me. My team and I are looking into other initiatives for the future."
The Lower 9th Ward Village is in the midst of attempting to raise $75,000 through Kickstarter to avoid foreclosure. Their side of the story regarding Lil Wayne can be read at the campaign page.
Trukstop Skatepark's last Facebook update was in November 2012, with a post that read, "Please bare [sic] with us as we finish the last few things we have to get done before TrukStop can open."