Close to 300 people stood in the rain Saturday afternoon for a chance to meet rapper/actor 50 Cent at a promotional event at Arrow Wine in Washington Twp.
The musician, born Curtis James Jackson III, was signing bottles of Effen vodka and taking photos with fans during an appearance at the Lyons Road store.
The crowd was an even mix of young and middle-aged, black and white, who waited as 50 Cent arrived about 40 minutes after the 1 p.m. start time.
Brandon Ashburn said he has seen 50 Cent in concert six times and got his autograph at Bogart’s in Cincinnati.
“It’s the content of the music. It’s reality, it’s to the point,” Ashburn said. “He doesn’t sugarcoat anything.”
That un-sugarcoated music was playing inside Arrow Wine, taking some of the regular customers wandering in and out a bit by surprise. A few older customers asked what the big event was, reacting with a mix of nods and confused looks when told 50 Cent was coming.
Mike Krol, state manager for Beam Suntory liquors in Ohio, said 50 Cent is more active than most celebrity liquor endorsers, saying he’s “a big believer” in connecting with fans.
“Ohioans are resilient people,” Krol said. “We did an event in Toledo when it was 22 degrees, and we had 400 people outside. This is not surprising, and I assume it’s going to keep going for two hours.”
Malcolm Byrd of Dayton called himself a big fan of 50 Cent, saying he grew up on the music, and supported the artist’s video games and business ventures as well. Asked about the vodka, he said, “I’ve never tried it but I’m willing to try today. It’s an experience, so I’m making the most of it.”
Fans had to buy at bottle of Effen for $24 to get it signed and have their picture taken with 50 Cent, with the picture sent to them later. Those who shelled out $145 for a six-bottle case were in a VIP line and could use their own cameras.
The Look at a Book store right next to Arrow Wine took advantage of the event, posting a big sign out front, reading, “Come 4 the vodka, stay 4 the books. Kids books? 50 cent.”
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