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LL Cool J wants y’all to know that despite earlier reports, he never landed a lip balm endorsement because “they didn’t like my black lips.”

After 13 studio albums and more than 30 years in the game, LL is considered one of the greatest rappers of all time. At the height of his career, the Queens-native  was considered a sex symbol fond of going shirtless and constantly licking his lips.

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You would think that lip balm companies would have offered him endorsements, especially back in the day due to his growing fame. But LL tells The Blast he was ever approached because brands such as Chapstick “didn’t like my black lips back then.”

Back in 2007, it was reported that LL was negotiating with Chapstick for a deal.

“It’s an obvious fit. LL has been licking his lips for 20 years,” his then manager Chris Lighty told Brand Week. “They’ll get to speak to people who normally would not pick up Chapstick.”

But Chapstick is one of several corporations who passed over LL as he was on the come-up in the rap game. Still, LL was offered other endorsements, one of which he cleverly managed to reference another Black-owned brand while shilling for a mainstream one. 

Complex writes: “In 1999, LL was tapped to freestyle about the Gap for a series of ads featuring singers and dancers. Unbeknownst to the retailer, LL turned this into one of the wittiest [raps] ever. Not only did he cleverly undermine the Gap, he also turned the commercial into a promotion for the black-owned FUBU clothing brand.”

The rapper decided to go a little off-script while shooting the TV spot, referencing the brand by rapping what its acronym stands for, “For Us, By Us.”

Heavy reported that the folks over at Gap didn’t realize the nod to urban-clothing label til months later. The move was a game changer for FUBU CEO Daymond John.

“FUBU was clever enough to put a hat on LL in a Gap commercial,” Esco Clothing founder Willie Esco Montanez said, according to Complex. “Changed everything.”

Watch LL’s GAP ad below:

PHOTO: AP

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6 thoughts on “LL Cool J Says His Lips Were ‘Too Black’ For Advertisers

  1. Rather people want to face it or not! Discrimination, is very real still in advertising, and etc. One thing for sure, I do know, Everytime we are passed over (Brown people). That’s a trillion dollars business, they wish, they would have taken a chance on. Brown people are Gold! We draw money and success! If all Black and Brown people would get on board with being positive in their thinking and doing. Wall Street couldn’t touch Us! We did it before, we can do it again! #Youcantkeepagoodmanorwomandown

  2. African American Woman on said:

    So stupid. Everyone is not going to get picked for everything. People have turned into such whiny babies and Chapstick seems to have done ok and so has LL. Get over it.

  3. Miss E on said:

    Chapstick lost out on millions because both women and men that would have bought this stuff just off LL’s commercial alone!

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