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Rapper Fat Joe spoke out after getting hit with backlash for obtaining a pair of "Never Surrender High-Tops" former President Donald Trump introduced at "Sneaker Con" recently.
Fat Joe defended his acquisition of the shoes, emphasizing his role as a sneaker collector rather than an endorsement of Trump's political ideologies.
In an Instagram video, he drew a parallel between sneaker collectors and art enthusiasts, suggesting that one can appreciate a piece without endorsing the artist's political stance:
"Why? If you really collect art, do you really know what Basquiat was into? Do you know what Andy Warhol was into? Any of these artists that you was into?"
"You love the art, so you get it. I guess they separate art from the person."
Now, me as a sneaker collector, I had to get my hands on the Trumps. Doesn't matter... Listen, I have thousands of pairs of sneakers. When everyone flipped on Kanye, I went and bought the two most exclusive Kanyes ever...I gotta get my hands on them."
"Once again, I'm not a Trumper. I dislike Trump. I'm not voting for him. Not now, not never."
"But I'm a sneaker collector into the art. So, I had to find these. ... I'm a sneaker collector. I don't know what none of these guys did. I collect sneakers, the rarer the better."
The rapper clarified that he didn't pay for the sneakers, adding that they were given to him because he’s “the biggest in the game.”
You can hear what he said in the video below.
The video quickly went viral on social media platforms including X, formerly Twitter.
Although Fat Joe's political beliefs have aligned with the Democratic Party, many saw his showing off the sneakers as a tacit endorsement of Trump.
Trump's "Never Surrender High-Tops" are priced at $399 and are being sold on a new website that also offers other Trump-branded shoes, along with "Victory47" cologne and perfume for $99 a bottle.
The website, operated by CIC Ventures LLC, a company Trump reported owning in his 2023 financial disclosure, claims to be non-political and unrelated to any political campaign. Despite this, it promotes the sneakers as a limited-edition, numbered "true collector's item" that is "Bold, gold, and tough, just like President Trump."
Trump's foray into the sneaker market faced harsh criticism on a recent segment of The Daily Show after comedian Josh Johnson presented Trump's new shoe line to sneaker enthusiasts, asking them if they would "cop or drop" the Trump-branded sneakers.
The responses were less than favorable, with one person noting that while there are no strict "rules in fashion," they "personally would not wear them." Another gave a definitive "hard pass," criticizing the shoes for looking "very 2009, dated" and "trying to be chic but also very nationalistic." The same person said the shoes are so lackluster that no one would steal them.