The founder of Crushers Club, one of the two charities splitting a $400,000 donation from Jay-Z’s Roc Nation and the NFL as part of their social-change partnership, has apologized for posting “insensitive” photos of her cutting the dreadlocks of two black teenagers, according to USA Today. She said the two tweets, which were posted in 2016, were reposted by others in the wake of the donation and have since been deleted, were posted “without much thought.”
“Out of 500 youth going through our doors I cut two young men’s hair because they asked me to and we are a family structure and so I did it and didn’t really think about it after that,” Crushers Club founder Sally Hazelgrove told the paper. “I tweeted about it without much thought. It’s hair. but I regret it now and I promise you I will not be doing that again if asked.
“The hatred and accusations from this took me by surprise,” she continued. “The backlash has been hard to be honest.”
The posts were recirculated on the same day as a free concert in Chicago intended to celebrate the partnership; Meek Mill, Meghan Trainor and Rapsody performed, with Trainor receiving an unusual amount of abuse online from those questioning her suitability at a social-change event of this nature.
USA Today noted that the Crushers Club’s Twitter account also used the phrase “All Lives Matter,” which is frequently used as a criticism of the Black Lives Matter movement, and also asked for President Trump’s assistance with gang violence in Chicago. Both of those tweets were also deleted.
“I said that not to take away from black lives matter, but to be inclusive of everyone,” Hazelgrove told the paper. “I never meant to belittle or disrespect anyone. I will be more sensitive of what I say moving forward. I truly have love for everyone of all races, religions and preferences, and hate does not live in me. I am so sorry for being insensitive.
A few hours later, Crusher Club posted a video of a man who said he was the teen pictured getting his dreadlocks cut by Hazelgrove. “They cut my hair like three years ago,” Kobe said. “That’s something I wanted to do. I was tired of it. Tired of gang banging. Tired of messing up.”
Roc Nation, the NFL and Crusher’s Club have received a fusillade of online criticism over the donation.