Drake has insisted he posed for an image in 'blackface' when he was younger to highlight how African-Americans were "once wrongfully portrayed" in the entertainment industry.
The controversial image, showing a young Drake smiling for the camera with black paint on his face and big red clown-style lips, was unearthed by rapper Pusha T, who used the snap for the cover art of his new Drake diss track The Story of Adidon.
Drake addressed the picture on his Instagram Story on Wednesday night (30May18), clarifying that the photo wasn't a clothing brand shoot or to do with his music career, but it was created to highlight the struggles black actors face when trying to get roles.
"I know everyone is enjoying the circus but I want to clarify this image in question," he wrote. "This picture is from 2007, a time in my life where I was an actor and I was working on a project that was about black actors struggling to get roles, being stereotyped and type cast.
"The photos represented how African Americans were once wrongfully portrayed in entertainment. Me and my best friend at the time Mazin Elsadig who is also an actor from Sudan were attempting to use our voices to bring awareness to the issues dealt with all the time as black actors at auditions.
"This was to highlight and raise our frustrations with not always getting a fair chance in the industry and to make a point that the struggle for black actors had not changed much."
After he released the diss track on Tuesday, Pusha T insisted on Twitter that the picture, reportedly taken by photographer David Leyes, hadn't been retouched, and the photo was removed from his Instagram account due to a report of copyright infringement.
The Story of Adidon, in which Pusha accuses Drake of hiding a secret son named Adonis, was a response to Drake's recent diss track Duppy Freestyle, in which he took aim at the rapper and Kanye West, the producer of Pusha's new album Daytona.