Curtis Jackson III, better known by his stage name 50 Cent, was recently ordered back to bankruptcy court after posting numerous images of himself flaunting “mockingly lavish” amounts of cash on his various social media sites. After he was fined $7 million for releasing a sex tap of the ex-girlfriend of fellow rapper Rick Ross, 50 Cent filed for bankruptcy in July 2015, telling the court that he was acutely low on capital and could not afford to repay the $30 million he owed his creditors.
Since the release of his 2003 hit album ironically titled “Get Rich or Die Tryin’,” 50 Cent has cultivated a persona of being a “hustler,” often appearing with expensive exotic cars, diamond Rolex watches, “pimped out” grills, and millions of dollars in cash. In the seven months since filing for bankruptcy, the “In Da Club” rapper has posted multiple images on Instagram of himself playing with dozens of stacks of $100 bills, spelling out “B-R-O-K-E” with $100 bills, and storing multiple wads of $100 bills in his refrigerator alongside bottles of “Effen Vodka,” a line of designer vodka for which he is the spokesman. In addition to parading large amounts of cash, 50 Cent has also Tweeted about throwing a housewarming party after construction on his new mansion in Africa is completed, posted messages about the upcoming new season of his popular Starz cable television show Power in which he is credited as being an executive producer and star, and published images showing him performing at sold out concert arenas with thousands of fans, for which one must assume he is being even modestly compensated.
For someone who is supposedly down to his last two quarters, however, such ostentatious displays of wealth do not bode well with bankruptcy court judges. According to CNN, After being alerted of this behavior, bankruptcy court judge Ann Nevins believes that the rapper may have fabricated his story. Voicing her dismay, Judge Nevins explained, “I’m concerned about allegations of nondisclosure and a lack of transparency in the case. There’s a purpose of having a bankruptcy process be transparent, and part of that purpose is to inspire confidence in the process.” In response, 50 Cents’ attorneys issued a press release stating that the photos were staged in order to help the rapper maintain his “high-roller” guise during his financial woes and that the money is not actually his. Despite this attempt to mitigate any question about the state of the rapper’s economic affairs, 50 Cent has been ordered back to court to explain his actions. Moreover, using his own social media posts as “smoking guns” against him, 50 Cent’s creditors have filed a motion with the court stating that the hip-hop artist failed to disclose money he received from concert performances, that he owned property in Africa, or any money he received from trademarking his valuable moniker “50 Cent.” If the judges find that 50 Cent has not been completely transparent and forthcoming with all of his creditors, the Grammy winner will face an entirely new slew of problems, including being declared un-bankrupt.
Loren Shokes is an Entertainment and Sports Highlight Contributor for the Harvard Journal of Sports and Entertainment Law and a current second year student at Harvard Law School (Class of 2017).