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Otis: The Yo Gotti controversy is much ado about nothing

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The talk of Memphis and elsewhere in recent days thanks to social media is the amazing disappearing act of the Yo Gotti billboard. As it turns out, the display featuring the well-known Memphis rapper appears to have simply been misplaced when it was put up at Bellevue and Walker in South Memphis on Friday.

Less than 24 hours later, it was gone. But it has reappeared in North Memphis near where Gotti grew up.

While the entire matter has been blown out of proportion, it does serve as the basis for a meaningful debate over who best represents the proper image for our public schools. The billboards are part of a campaign by Shelby County Schools to highlight several famous Memphians who - as the billboards state - are products of public schools. Gotti, whose given name is Mario Mims, is a graduate of Trezevant High School. Others featured in the campaign include wrestler Jerry Lawler, former basketball star Penny Hardaway and even superintendent Dorsey Hopson.

The choice of Gotti was criticized by some on social media because of his crude rap lyrics and sometimes controversial lifestyle, but the fact is, lots of young people in the school system relate to the rap star. The campaign`s message should be about academic success that leads to success in life.

In other words, this controversy is much ado about nothing.