City officials in Arkansas capital Little Rock, including Mayor Mark Stodola and members of the city’ s board of directors, attempted to cancel a concert by rapper Moneybagg Yo after being alerted by police that gun violence had occurred at two of the rapper’s previous concerts, reported Northwest Arkansas Democrat Gazette on 27 October 2017.
Stodola contacted the venue manager and asked the city attorney for a court injunction to cancel the show scheduled to take place on 13 October at iHeart Media Metrplex Live. The venue ended up cancelling the show.
Though the police have stated they are not practicing censorship and are asking venues to let police help them with their security, Democratic member of Congress Representative Charles Blake said that the music genre is what’s being targeted, reported Arkansas Matters.
“We have general censorship based on emotions. That’s not what we want. That’s not who we are as a city,” Blake said. “It’s saying we really don’t want you if you’re hip hop, if you’re rap or if you’re a genre that we don’t approve of.”
A second letter
In the same month, police contacted another venue, La’Changes, raising its concerns over security for an upcoming meet-and-greet event with R&B singer Jacquees, due to them having information of a shooting before one of his concerts in February in Iowa, and another incident in Illinois in July where gang members fired shots because the artists refused to pay them protection money.
A staff member of the venue criticised the letter as the event was not a concert and was happening after the artist was performing at a different venue that did not receive a letter, but added that police seemed satisfied with the security arrangements made by the venue for the meet-and-greet event, reported Arkansas Times.
“We are still trying to figure out when, where and how we do this practice that we have started,” Police Chief Kenton Buckner told Northwest Arkansas Democrat Gazette. “An intelligent person could raise the question – you are going to do this for this concert venue, but we’ve had incidents at different things in Little Rock. We’ve had shootings after the fair, after Movies in the Park. How do we consistently and fairly apply our attempt to protect the public without harming those who have a right to do what they’re doing?”
Previous violent incidents
On 1 July 2017, also in Little Rock, 28 people were injured in a shooting at a hip hop show by artist Finese2Tymes at venue Power Ultra Lounge, reported The Guardian. According to police, the incident was due to “some sort of dispute broke out between people inside”.
The artist’s bodyguard was later charged with 10 counts of aggravated assault and shell casings at the venue matched those from the bodyguard’s weapon, reported Rolling Stone. Both he and the artist were arrested the day after the shooting, for an unrelated shooting that took place in Forest City, Arkansas on 25 June.
In May 2017, in the town of Jonesboro, Arkansas, there was a deadly shooting at nightclub The Basement, where one teenager died and at least six others were hurt, reported KTHV.