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Fetty Wap video causes outrage and an educator’s suspension

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When a celebrity visits their old high school, they are oftentimes upheld as a model of success for students. Unfortunately, an appearance and video shoot by Fetty Wap resulted in embarrassment and the suspension of the school principal.

Fetty filmed his latest video “Wake Up” at Eastside High School in Patterson, New Jersey. The school was made famous by its former principal, the baseball wielding Joe Clark, featured in the movie Stand by Me. Fetty did not graduate from Eastside and dropped out to pursue his music career.

Fetty Wap’s video featured a pole dancer and there were numerous references to drugs and drug culture in the video, which is at odds with the positive educational message the school is trying to instill in its students. Paterson Superintendent of Schools Donnie Evans announced this week that Principal Zatiti Moody has been placed on paid administrative leave while the district investigates why the video was allowed to be filmed at the school.

Paterson school district spokeswoman Terry Corallo said the district doesn’t endorse the content of the video. It was shot during non-instructional hours and didn’t include students.

“I went back to my old high school because I love my city. I wanted to show the students of Paterson that someone who walked those same hallways they walk every day and sat in the same classrooms shown in the video has become successful. If I can do it they can do it too,” Fetty Wap said in a statement.

However, the images in the video seem to contradict his statement. Among the scenes included are a teacher who uses an apple on her desk as a bong for marijuana and banners that read “Support Team Kush.” Fetty Wap’s video seems to promote a hypersexualized weed culture to Black youth. His video begs the question: Who is responsible for policing our culture?