SCS billboard featuring Yo Gotti removed less than 24 hours later

SCS billboard featuring Yo Gotti removed less than 24 hours later
Published: Jan. 26, 2018 at 6:15 PM CST|Updated: Jan. 26, 2018 at 8:24 PM CST
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MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - One new billboard featuring a Memphis rap artist is down less than a day after it was put up.

The billboard featuring Yo Gotti was one of several new billboards featuring the Shelby County Schools logo that went up Thursday in the Bluff City. The Yo Gotti billboard was posted near the intersection of South Bellevue Boulevard and Walker Avenue.

The billboard said "Product of Public Schools" and had the Shelby County Schools logo on the bottom right corner.

Yo Gotti, whose real name is Mario Mims, is a graduate of Trezevant High School.

However, Shelby County Schools removed the Yo Gotti billboard Friday afternoon. Employees at the auto shop nearby said it was taken down "because it was causing too much controversy."

Online commenters spent time after seeing the billboard commenting on its message.

"Anyone else would be better, not him," parent Alma Lopez said. "Definitely not him."

"I am not saying this guy is a perfect guy for the billboard, but he's doing things," said James Williams, who owns the property the billboard was on.

Some said using Yo Gotti was a good way to connect with and inspire students; others were critical of the message it sent to students--often citing Yo Gotti's explicit lyrics as reason that he shouldn't be a role model for students.

A woman who claimed to be an SCS teacher tweeted, saying "As an SCS teacher, I spend 90% of my time trying to convince my kids they can do more than rap or hoop. Our priorities are twisted!"

WMC Action News 5 reached out Shelby County Schools on Friday morning to get a comment about the billboard. SCS released the following statement.

The billboard isn't an endorsement of Yo Gotti or his lyrics, but we wanted a figure in the community that kids could recognize and relate to. Gotti has done a lot of good in the Frayser community in the past and supported schools in the area.

A similar billboard featuring Devin Steel, a Central High School graduate who works for K97, was also seen in Memphis.

Steel said SCS came to him several months ago asking him to be part of this project. He said it's a strategic campaign, one he hopes will inspire kids to a better future.

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