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Wikimedia Commons

Wikimedia Commons

It seems like no one can manage to put on a performance or make an announcement without offending someone, but this one really should not have been a surprise. Hip-hop legends The Diplomats recently performed at the Apollo Theater in New York. During their onstage performance, they wore full military dress blues including what seemed to be real ribbons and medals. Cam’ron and Jim Jones’ group took the stage to perform “I’m Ready” wearing the outfits that served as the center of the controversy. They wore dress blues from a mix of military branches.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, veterans were not amused by the use of military dress uniforms as part of the performance. “I get performance art, and if you want to wear camo or a [costume] uniform, I have no problem,” said one veteran, “But if you’re wearing medals and ribbons, it’s crossing a line.”

Others quickly joined in to bury The Diplomats, known to their fans as Dipset, under a hailstorm of criticism.

“Its blood sweat and tears behind the s*** we earned,” tweeted Twitter user Aceman.

Jarrell Black agreed. “Anything to stay relevant. Stolen valor ain’t dope.”

Twitter user MeMA-Music chimed in as well. “Huh? What were they thinking? Not the best idea for a comeback,” referring to the fact that The Diplomats were performing to promote their first album in 14 years, Diplomatic Ties.

The Diplomats were not the first hip-hop/rap group to run into trouble for misusing military uniforms. Rapper 50 Cent took some heat in 2013 when he was photographed wearing a Marine Corps uniform with several medals on the chest. Similarly, the rap group G-Unit filmed a music video wearing a number of different military uniforms.

What exactly will come of the controversy is not clear, but it does show that sometimes controversy could very easily have been avoided if people simply thought through their actions.

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