Kodak Black is speaking out amid the controversy from his Kobe Bryant-themed birthday party.
The rapper celebrated his 24th birthday earlier this month. In photos from the festivities, which he posted on Instagram, he was seen wearing the late Lakers legend’s No. 24 jersey while standing alongside a purple and gold Tesla Model X and a purple and gold helicopter.
“I’m Ouchea 24 a Day I’m Like KOBE,” Kodak captioned the pics.
However, fans were quick to call him out for incorporating a helicopter into the festivities, noting that Kobe was tragically killed in a helicopter crash in January 2020.
“That’s kinda messed up,” wrote one fan, while another added, “So nobody on ya team advised you not to do the helicopter?”
Now Kodak is explaining his decision. In an interview with Florida radio station 99JAMZ, he expressed his love for Bryant and recalled where he was when he heard about the NBA superstar’s death.
“I heard about his unfortunate demise,” said Kodak, who was incarcerated in an Oklahoma prison at the time. “I was already saying like, ‘Man, you know when I come home, I’ma come home on the helicopter.’ And I heard how he passed and I was like, ‘Fam, that’s crazy.’ Maybe it’s a sign not to jump on the helicopter ’cause you know, he KB and I’m KB.”
He echoed the sentiments in a previous video posted to Instagram. “I want to send all my love to the Bryant family,” said Kodak. “I feel so connected to Kobe’s unfortunate demise. When I was in prison, I was planning on coming home on a helicopter, but January 26, when I found out about what happened, I took it as a sign not to due to the fact that we share the same initials…Today I celebrate your life, your legacy, as well as my birthday.”
Just this week, Vanessa Bryant settled a lawsuit against the helicopter company involved in the deadly crash that killed her husband, their daughter Gigi, and seven others.