Pittsburgh City Council declared Dec. 12 Wiz Khalifa Day, bestowing a proclamation on the Pittsburgh-based rapper known for pot smoking and making reference to marijuana use in his song lyrics.
Councilman Bill Peduto, who sponsored the proclamation, said Khalifa is an ambassador for the city. Khalifa‘s hit song “Black and Yellow,” released on his debut album “Rolling Papers,” pays homage to Pittsburgh‘s colors.
“(Khalifa is) somebody who may not have been born in Pittsburgh, but he‘s accepted Pittsburgh as his home, and in doing that has become an ambassador of the city.” Peduto said.
Khalifa, 25, appeared before City Council with his fiancé, Amber Rose, and mother, Peachie Wimbush of Canonsburg, wearing a black leather motorcycle jacket and a black baseball cap with the word “Dope” written across the front.
“It means a lot to me, being a kid in Pittsburgh and riding buses, and going to school and just loving Pittsburgh so much,” he said. “I appreciate everybody in Pittsburgh.”
Khalifa said the cap was from the Dope Couture clothing line, explaining that the word dope was not a drug connotation, but a slang expression for “cool.”
Born Cameron Jabril Thomaz in North Dakota, Khalifa moved to Pittsburgh in 1996 and attended Regent Square Elementary School, Reizenstein Middle School, Rooney Middle School, and graduated in 2006 from Allderdice High School in Squirrel Hill.
Khalifa‘s background includes a run-in with the law. Nashville police charged him with marijuana possession in April.
MTV News reported in 2010 that Khalifa told a reporter he spends about $10,000 per month on marijuana. Khalifa has his own brand of cigarette rolling papers named Wiz Khalifa Brand Rolling Papers, according to MTV. His 2010 concert tour was named the Waken Baken Tour, a reference to waking up in the morning and smoking pot.
Wiz Khalifa Day was met with mixed reactions by WPXI Facebook fans. Some fans supported the rapper, but others said they don’t agree with it.
“The real question is what has Wiz actually done that’s been beneficial for the city of Pittsburgh,” Joe Kerr posted.
“Who’s stupid idea was it to make today Wiz Khalifa Day? How about make it Trooper Pokorny Day since he lost his life on Dec. 12, 2005?” Amanda Pants wrote.
D.J. Bonics, who is part of Khalifa’s traveling road show, said he doesn’t feel the criticism is warranted.
“I can see how people may receive it different than others. I think the important part is the story of the kid who had a dream and was able to achieve it,” Bonics said.
Peduto has not commented on the criticism.
Channel 11’s news exchange partners at TribLIVE contributed to this report.