Spanish luxury retailer Balenciaga tapped Kanye West to collaborate on a DMX long-sleeve T-shirt, at $200 each, to honor the deceased lyricist (born Earl Simmons) and raise funds for his family. In less than 24 hours, all the inventory was sold out, and a reported $1 million was raised for the Simmons family to assist with their financial woes.
At the time of his April 9 death, DMX’s net worth was deep in the red, with most reports claiming it to be negative $1 million and some others saying it was ten times that amount. In January 2019, Dark Man X was released from prison after a yearlong stint for tax fraud, but he still had a $2.3 million debt to be paid to the IRS at that time. That was on top of a series of bankruptcies, questionable investments made during his life, and $1.24 million in owed child support for his 15 children.
Ruff Ryders founder and Simmons’ longtime friend/collaborator Swizz Beatz thanked Yeezy via IG for the shirt. “Thank you my brother KANYE & Balenciaga for this amazing tribute link in BIO long live the dog,” Beatz wrote.
Kanye also brought his gospel group, The Sunday Service Choir, to perform at DMX’s “Celebration of Life” ceremony at the Barclays Center. Whatever conflicts there may have been between West and the choir were set aside that Sunday as the audience was treated to rousing performances of hymns like “How Excellent” and The Clark Sisters’ “You Brought the Sunshine.”
At Sunday’s memorial, Westchester County community activist Priscilla Echi also took the stage with Erica Ford, cofounder of Life Camp, to reveal that the state of New York declared December 18– Earl “DMX” Simmons Day. “Our New York State Senate has called December 18 Earl “DMX” Simmons Day,” Echi said. “His lyrics were rapped on the Senate floor by Senator Jamal Bailey, who introduced a resolution in his honor.”
“In New York, we have our own hip hop royalty,” Bailey himself professed on April 20 in the Empire State capital. “He’s the Earl of Westchester County. He is DMX. He is one of the greatest hip-hop artists that we will ever know. Phenomenal actor, phenomenal for the culture. Someone who gave us so much in the hip-hop generation. As a kid whose been raised by hip hop, I am grateful not just for the accomplishments that DMX has given, but I’m more happy about the impact that Earl Simmons left on the world. May he rest in peace, and may his memory be a blessing.”