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A$AP Rocky Russia Ukraine war Z Beats by Dre commercial Rihanna

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A$AP’s Rocky promotional post for his commercial directorial debut has been condemned as pro-Russia propaganda from social media users amid the war in Ukraine. 

Rocky donned a large, diamond-encrusted “Z” pendant formed out of military tanks in a photo posted July 20 before the release of his new ad for Beats by Dre. 

Although the rapper deleted the promotional post fairly quickly, Instagram users flooded the comments of the commercial’s post. The rapper has faced extreme backlash and criticism from online users who highlighted that his jewelry piece is a sign of hate.

“Z – this is [the] Russian Nazi symbol. Symbol of terrorism and death, symbol of occupation and total lies.”

“Glamourizing genocide and terrorism? Seriously?”

“WTF man?! you make a Russian war symbol out of diamond tanks? Shame on you!”

“Disappointing and disrespectful.”

“When will you release swastika jewelry?”

“You better post a public apology.”

“This bro really thought that [he could] just delete the post and hide the fact that he supports terrorism and genocide.”


While the letter “Z” isn’t in the Cyrillic alphabet used in Russia and Ukraine, it’s become a symbol of the Vladimir Putin-led country’s war for occupation and control. The Daily Mail highlighted that some have referred to the letter as a symbol “equivalent of Hitler’s swastika.”

NPR noted that the origins of Z’s meaning in relation to the conflict between Russia and Ukraine remain a mystery. The letter was reportedly painted on Russian tanks ahead of the country’s attack on its neighbor. A theory for what the letter stands for is “Za pobedu” (For Victory).


Beats by Dre is facing just as much backlash as Rocky is. 

The brand’s Instagram comments are filled with the hashtags #RussiaIsATerroristState and #BoycottBeatsByDre.


Rocky’s commercial directorial debut featured his latest single, “RIOT (Rowdy Pipe’n).” The song will be featured on the Harlemite’s fourth studio album, Don’t Be Dumb.

The rapper teased that he and Rihanna, the mother of his two children, had already tied the knot. In his new song, he rhymed, “My wife is erotic, I’m smokin’ exotic.”

In the ad, the Fenty mogul’s voice called out at Rocky from off-screen and asked him to go grab diapers. The rapper embarked on a wild journey to a bodega that included a chaotic group of chasing fans and several Beats By Dre brand shots and product placements.

See the commercial below.

RELATED CONTENT: “A$AP Rocky Asks ‘Marry Me?’ And Rihanna Replies’ I Do’ In New Music Video”

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