Florida official honors Kodak Black for philanthropy

Kodak Black performs onstage during the 4th Annual TIDAL X: Brooklyn at Barclays Center of Brooklyn on Oct. 23, 2018, in New York City.

FORT LAUDERDALE — Rapper Kodak Black, a convicted felon with a charitable streak, got an honor usually reserved for business leaders, social servants and others who generally don’t raise eyebrows.

Broward Commissioner Dale V.C. Holness issued a proclamation last week honoring the rapper who grew up in Pompano Beach.

Holness’ action took his fellow commissioners by surprise and sparked a debate about whether a person’s acts of philanthropy are any less commendable just because the individual has a troubled history.

The proclamation lists several of Black’s contributions, including college costs for the three children of two FBI agents killed in a raid in Sunrise; funeral costs of a South Carolina police officer; and $100,000 to Nova Southeastern University’s law school in memory of Meadow Pollack, who was killed in the Parkland high school shooting in 2018.

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County Commissioner Mark Bogen disagreed with honoring Black, whose real name is Bill K. Kapri.

“Our commission needs to honor people who have done things that are special and worthy of being honored,” Bogen said. “I do not believe Mr. Black is worthy of that honor. Based on his past criminal conduct, this is not a man we should be honoring.”

Black served half of a three-year federal sentence for falsifying information on a document used to buy guns from a Miami gun shop. President Donald Trump commuted his sentence among 73 last-minute clemency grants issued at midnight on the last day of Trump’s presidency.

Black was arrested in May 2019 just before he was set to perform at the Rolling Loud festival at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens.

The rapper also is on probation after he pleaded guilty in April to assault and battery in a sex assault case in which he was accused of attacking a teenage girl in a South Carolina hotel room. He received a suspended 10-year sentence and 18 months’ probation.

Defending Black

Black’s lawyer and former “Celebrity Apprentice” contestant Bradford “Brad” Cohen defended the decision to honor the rapper.

“To say that we should not recognize the good someone does just because that person has been in trouble before is asinine, foolish and ignorant,” Cohen said. “To have ... politicians judge a young Black man because of his past and say to this man, you shouldn’t be recognized for any of the good you do because you aren’t worthy is what the problem is with politicians these days.”

Holness is running for Congress to replace the late Rep. Alcee Hastings. Holness did not respond to calls or text messages Monday. Holness honored the rapper on June 11 as he visited his home county for his birthday.

Black thanked Holness in a tweet on June 12: “Thanks To Dale Holness. ... This Means More To Me Than Going Gold Or Platinum Every Year June 11th We Gone Have A Good Time And Do Something Special Within Our Community.”

The proclamation also says Black “has agreed to be mentored” by Holness.

Holness signed the proclamation as the mayor of Broward, a title he had until November, when the one-year term ended.

That rankled the county commission, which said Holness had overstepped.

By signing the document “claiming to be mayor when he’s not, it’s very troubling any person would sign a document purporting to have a title when the person doesn’t have that title,” Bogen said.

Mayor Steve Geller called for a discussion at Tuesday’s county commission meeting about the procedures for proclamations going forward.

“What I have read about Kodak Black, I wouldn’t have signed my name to a proclamation,” Geller said.

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