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50 Cent thinks billboard flap will help film

Activists claim ‘Get Rich or Die Tryin’’ signs promote violence
/ Source: Reuters

Rap star 50 Cent says a controversy over billboards for his upcoming movie, which community leaders claim glorify violence, is helping promote the film “Get Rich or Die Tryin.”’

Posters for the movie that had been displayed near some grade schools were taken down by Paramount Pictures Thursday after protests erupted over the gangsta rapper shown stripped to the waist with his bullet-scarred back to the camera and arms stretched out, holding a microphone and a gun.

“I do appreciate it,” the rapper told Reuters in an interview Friday. “They are talking about it on media outlets I didn’t have plans to market the movie to. They are helping me out.”

The R-rated film, whose title is taken from 50 Cent’s major-label debut album that sold more than 7 million copies, is due to open Nov. 9. It stars the rap artist, whose real name is Curtis Jackson, in a biographical story about a drug dealer who abandons crime to pursue a music career.

The rapper said it was ludicrous to single out his poster considering how action movies are routinely marketed.

The posters were removed after Los Angeles County Supervisor Michael Antonovich sent a letter to Paramount, complaining that they promoted gun violence.

“I understand people had picket signs protesting, saying my poster is violent because they see a gun,” 50 Cent said.

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But he added: “They’ve seen a gun in tons of film advertising. If we walk into our local Blockbuster or place where we can rent a video, we’ll see every kind of gun they manufacture on the cover of these films as a marketing tool.

“Some of these people just have an overall outlook on me that’s negative,” said 50 Cent, who was once shot nine times.

The rap star, whose latest CD, “The Massacre,” has sold 4.7 million copies in the United States since its release in March, said he understood the film distributor’s decision to take down some of the billboards.

“I think Paramount made a business decision. I don’t have a problem with it. At the end of the day, those kids are going to see the film. They insult the intelligence of the actual kids.

“They read the articles, they’ve seen the videos, they heard the music. When the film comes out, they’re gonna see the film, regardless,” he said.