Monday, October 24, 2016

Monday's Black Lives Matter show at Music Farm canceled, venue and Charleston police respond

CPD and Music Farm cite "safety concerns"

Posted by Kelly Rae Smith on Mon, Oct 24, 2016 at 5:23 PM

Black Lives Matter Charleston (BLM843) revealed over the weekend the cancellation of its collaborative hip-hop, R&B, and poetry show tonight at the Music Farm, stating that the performances, organized also by GeecheeOne Magazine and GeecheeGumbo, have been postponed due to “safety concerns.”

According to Captain Chip Searson from the Charleston Police Department (CPD), the CPD contacted the venue recently, asking if it had taken any security measures, like hiring off-duty police officers, for tonight’s event. Searson said the reason for concern was due to an incident on Sat. Sept. 3, when gunshots were fired outside the Music Farm directly following a performance with rap artist Shy Glizzy.

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As a response to the CPD inquiry, the Music Farm decided to shut the concert down as of Sat. Oct. 22.

The Music Farm confirmed that the venue has had off-duty officers at past events and has a working relationship with the CPD. “We always place our patrons’ safety first and take appropriate security measures,” said Thomas Glasgow, spokesperson for the Music Farm.

The Music Farm, CPD, and Black Lives Matter have confirmed that the show will be rescheduled at the Music Farm.

When asked why the show had to be shut down tonight, when it will be rescheduled for a later date anyway, Glasgow said, “The event was canceled due to our concern over the lack of communication between the promoter and the police department and the overall concern regarding the safety of our patrons. Now that all parties involved have an open line of communication we feel that we can move forward with a new date.”

Artists Port Baby Big D, Port Baby, Benjamin Starr, Bria the Poet, Scooda Sease, Brown, Dale Boy Darryl, The O Ismail, Queen Christine, and more were scheduled to perform.

As we reported in last week’s issue of the City Paper, tonight’s show was to be held both in memory of those lost to gun violence as well as a benefit. Funds raised would have gone toward erecting a memorial in the city where folks who have lost loved ones to gun violence could go, mourn, and meditate. “The Music Farm opened its doors to us, the artists volunteered to share their gifts and talents, and we anticipate the people concerned with the violence will come out and support the show,” Black Lives Matter Charleston’s Muhiyidin d’Baha told us two weeks ago. “The artists that are performing reflect the reality of the people and so are responsible for helping us all understand what is happening in the streets, helping us all understand the conditions of our time, and the forces that lead youth to gun violence. That is the purpose of the concert — for us to listen, reflect, connect, and share our understanding of the situation.”

D’Baha met with Captain Chip Searson this morning to discuss the cancellation. “It was a very positive meeting, and he’s going to pick a couple more dates for the future,” Searson said. “And we’re probably going to reschedule, and he’s going to involve us. I’m gonna work with him as part of the planning process to put a security plan together.”

No one from the Music Farm was present during the meeting with d’Baha and the CPD, but Glasgow told us today, “Whenever we feel as though our patrons’ safety will be called into question, we strive to act accordingly to ensure the safety of all parties involved.”

Searson said, “I think this is an opportunity for us to communicate better with the Music Farm and perhaps work closer with them on when they do have any event, where we’re made aware of it and they have some kind of security plan in place. It’s our duty to protect not only people who are attending but the people who are outside.”

When asked if the CPD has flagged any other Music Farm events since Sept. 3, Searson said, “I don’t know. I’m just now familiar with [knowledge of other shows], but I’m familiar with this one where there were gunshots afterwards.” Searson said the CPD discovered the BLM843 show via Facebook.

Glasgow stressed that the Music Farm caters to all genres of music, including hip-hop. He said, “We have proudly booked hip-hop in the past and will continue to do so in the future. We plan on working with the event promoter and the CPD to find a new date so we can host this event in the future.”

While tonight’s BLM843 show has been singled out, a performance by white hip-hop artist NF, scheduled for Wed. Nov. 2, has not been flagged and is set to go ahead. When we questioned Glasgow about the NF show, he said, “We have several hip-hop shows currently booked between Music Farm Charleston and Music Farm Columbia. We plan on playing all of them through.”

D’ Baha sent us the following statement this afternoon: “The benefit concert is so much more than a concert, and I don’t think the ‘authorities’ had an understanding about what we are trying to do. The organizers, promoters, and artists have a vested interest in creating spaces for healing and reflection for our community. Art serves that purpose well. We have lost over 30 people this year to gun violence. It’s our nephews and nieces that are being killed. It’s our brothers and sisters who we are losing. It is our uncles and aunts who wont be here for this Christmas. So when we say that we need to come together to have a benefit concert in their memory, there is a sacred purposefulness to that,and that simply was not communicated. After meeting with the City Police their ‘safety concerns’ are still unclear, but we came to an understanding of what this show is all about, and that in itself is progress. As the story goes, they expressed their ‘safety concerns’ to the venue but neglected to contact the organizers of the event. Moving forward it was agreed upon that the ‘safety concerns’ of the next ‘date’ would be communicated directly with the organizers so as to move forward with transparency. We have a shared interest in the safety of our community, so working together to create a safe place to have a benefit concert should not be a problem. The show will go on at a date yet to be determined. Stay tuned.”

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