Richard Wershe, Jr. opens up about the 'White Boy Rick' moniker: 'It's who I am'

Richard "White Boy Rick" Wershe and WWJ's Charlie Langton
Richard "White Boy Rick" Wershe and WWJ's Charlie Langton Photo credit WWJ

DETROIT (WWJ) – In 1987, Richard Wershe, Jr. – “better known as White Boy Rick” – was convicted of a non-violent drug offense at just 17 years old after working as an FBI informant at the age of 14..

Wershe then spent more than three decades behind bars before he was released from custody in July 2020.

Wershe says the media and popular culture spent many years inaccurately portraying him as a “drug kingpin.” The use of the “White Boy Rick” moniker turned heads in the news and grew into something of a Detroit legend.

Speaking with WWJ’s Charlie Langton Tuesday night at MusicTown Detroit, Wershe said White Boy Rick is a reference – not his name.

He likened it to Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson in that many people may not know his real name, but are familiar with the moniker.

Wershe told an anecdote during Tuesday’s interview about being pulled over by a police officer on Monday because his blinker wasn’t working after leaving the car dealership. That officer “absolutely” knew who he was, Wershe says.

“He asked me my name, I told him. He goes, ‘what’s your other name?’ I said, ‘if you have to ask, you already know.’”

Wershe says he’s not ashamed of the name. In fact, it’s his brand – The 8th by White Boy Rick, his cannabis brand he launched last fall.

“It’s who I am, I’m not ashamed of it, by any means,” he said of the name.

“The 8th” does not represent an eighth of weed, Wershe says. It’s got a much more potent meaning than that.

“It’s your 8th Amendment, which is how I got out of prison,” Wershe said. “The brand means a lot to me. It’s based on the ban on cruel and unusual punishment, excessive fines. So On every bag, or every shirt, if you don’t smoke weed, you can rock a shirt and it represents your 8th Amendment. We all should know our constitutional rights.”

Wershe talked for about 45 minutes Tuesday, also giving his thoughts on the justice and prison systems in the United States, what he thinks about the city of Detroit decades after his incarceration, and more. He also opened up on what led to his conviction at such a young age.

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