Kodak Black honor causes a stir in Broward commission

The county commission changed its rules for such honors after commissioners were surprised about the proclamation for the rapper with a lengthy criminal history.

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – Broward County commissioners say they were caught by surprise when controversial rapper Kodak Black received a proclamation last week issued by Commissioner Dale Holness.

The honor is typically given to civil servants, social and business leaders who make a difference in the community.

Black, a Broward native, has had numerous legal issues. In April, he was sentenced to probation for assaulting a teenage girl in a South Carolina hotel room in 2016.

And he was granted a commutation of his federal weapons charges just before President Donald Trump left the White House in January.

The move to honor him in Broward noticeably caused some tension at Tuesday’s regular county commission meeting, where the rules for issuing proclamations were changed to make sure certain protocols are followed moving forward.

“I think that if we were to allow individual commissioners to present proclamations to anybody, to whom they desired,” said Commissioner Nan H. Rich, “I think that it really diminishes the impact and the importance of the proclamation.”

Holness, the former county mayor, said he first tried to reach Mayor Steve Geller and Vice Mayor Michael Udine last-minute but signed the proclamation because Black was in town.

The rapper, legal name Bill K. Kapri, grew up in Pompano Beach.

Holness said the proclamation was in support of Black’s philanthropic efforts. He added that he believes in redemption and that the rapper’s criminal troubles shouldn’t outweigh the good.

“I believe in redemption,” Holness said. “I believe every human being has the ability to redeem themselves from whatever wrong they’ve done.”

He went on to say, “It (the proclamation) wasn’t about naming a day for him either, if anyone took the time to read it.”

Black turned 24 on Friday when the proclamation was made.

He thanked Holness in an Instagram post, writing, “This Means More To Me Than Going Gold Or Platinum. Every Year June 11th We Gone Have A Good Time And Do Something Special Within Our Community.”

Holness detailed how Kodak Black rehabilitated himself, paid his debt and put his fame to good use.

He listed a host of good works including, “helping fallen officers in giving assistance to them. $100,000 for the Nova Southeastern library, contributing to honor MSD high school senior Meadow Pollack and the 16 others who tragically lost their lives.”

The Broward commission adjusted its rules and now commissioners can give certificates and appreciations individually but cannot use the word proclamation or assign “a day” without approval through the mayor’s office three business days in advance.

Last year, Black pleaded guilty to a weapons charge after U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers found a gun in his Cadillac Escalade. He was crossing from Canada to the U.S. the previous April.

In 2019, he was sentenced to 46 months in prison on federal weapons charges after lying on background-check forms to buy firearms in Miami.

Black has also faced other prior charges in Broward County.

In granting a commutation of his federal charges back in January, the White House recognized Black’s philanthropic efforts to benefit children in need and struggling restaurants in Broward.

A number of South Florida religious and community leaders advocated for the commutation, the White House said, as did Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson and rappers Gucci Mane, Lil Pump and Lil Yachty.

The move didn’t erase Black’s conviction.

Black posted on social media Monday wishing Trump a happy birthday.

About the Authors:

Andrew Perez is a South Florida native who joined the Local 10 News team in May 2014.