Several media outlets are reporting hip-hop star Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson has filed for bankruptcy. The Wall Street Journal said 50 Cent filed for Chapter 11 protection in bankruptcy court in Hartford, Connecticut, on Monday. According to The Wall Street Journal, the decision was made to protect 50 Cent’s assets after he lost a civil trial with Lastonia Leviston, rapper Rick Ross’ ex-girlfriend.
Jurors ordered 50 Cent to pay Leviston $5 million for violating her privacy, after he posted a sex tape of her online. 50 Cent posted the video on his website as part of an ongoing feud with Ross. The bankruptcy filing effectively halts the lawsuit, according to The Wall Street Journal. TMZ also reported 50 Cent was ordered to pay $17.2 million for ripping off a headphone design.
“This filing for personal bankruptcy protection permits Mr. Jackson to continue his involvement with various business interests and continue his work as an entertainer, while he pursues an orderly reorganization of his financial affairs,” said William A. Brewer III, his lawyer in a statement.
Chapter 11, unlike Chapter 13, enables 50 Cent to reorganize his finances, rather than liquidating his assets, said The Hollywood Reporter. Financial Juneteeth said filing bankruptcy allows 50 Cent to hang onto his fortune by delaying paying the lawsuits.
“Bankruptcy is not the same as economic death,” said Dr. Boyce Watkins on Financial Juneteeth. “Some companies declare bankruptcy to get protection from creditors during short-term liquidity problems. This can allow them to protect valuable assets and keep creditors at bay while they work through a temporary financial problem.”
Forbes estimated 50 Cent’s fortune at $155 million. However, according to court papers, he had debts and assets ranging from $10 million to $50 million.
50 Cent shot to fame in 2003 with the international hit In Da Club. However, in recent years he has become more famous for his financial dealings and legal problems than making music. The rapper made between $60 million to $100 million from investing in Glaceau Vitaminwater. Over the years, 50 Cent has dabbled in several business ventures such as a record company, clothing line, writing books and more recently a boxing promotion company. (50 Cent is close friends with boxer Floyd Mayweather.)
Always known for his business acumen, 50 cent was recently profiled in The New York Times, who described him as a “renaissance man.”
“It is well known that Mr. Jackson, 40, has exceptional business instincts. A former crack cocaine dealer, who has been shot nine times, he has sold more than 22 million albums, and a new one, ‘Street King Immortal,’ arrives in the fall,” said The New York Times. “He is the chief executive of G-Unit Records. He founded a headphones company, SMS Audio. And he owns part of a vodka brand and Frigo, a line of luxury men’s underwear.”
Although 50 Cent made his name as a rapper, his recent albums have not been hits. 50 Cent has dived into acting appearing in the Starz show Power. He also serves as a producer on Power. 50 Cent has appeared in several Hollywood films alongside stars such as Sylvester Stallone and Arnold Schwarzenegger and will appear in the upcoming movie Southpaw, alongside Jake Gyllenhaal.
Don Charnas, author of “The Big Payback: The History of the Business of Hip-Hop,” said hip-hop entrepreneurs, like 50 Cent, are part of America’s boom-and-bust custom.
“I think what we see over and over again are rap artists joining their great American tradition of being exploited, climbing out of that exploitation and being an entrepreneur and creating equity, the great American tradition of amassing wealth and the great American tradition of squandering it,” Charnas said.