Another Strike Against Chicago Rapper Chief Keef
Not the most popular of rappers, amongst officials so when Rapper Chief Keef appeared — via hologram — at a Hammond music festival Saturday night, his performance was shut down by police within minutes.
Unfortunately his reputation precedes itself and it’s tainted by the violence that is associated with his concerts and the most recent incident ending in a 18 month old toddler’s death hasn’t helped his image.
The concert, planned as a benefit for the toddler Dillan Harris and a friend of the rapper’s who were killed earlier this month, was originally scheduled to take place last week at Pilsen’s Redmoon Theater however the Mayor made sure that it didn’t happen with a little help from south side Father Pfleger. Both indicated that the show “posed a significant public safety risk,” causing the theater management to rethink the agreement with Keef and the relinquished their agreement. Thus the event was canceled.
But Chief Keef, a Chicago native whose real name is Keith Cozart, determined not to be stopped planned a show at an undisclosed location, originally thought to be in Chicago.
That turned out to be Craze Fest, a daylong hip-hop festival at Wolf Lake Pavilion in Hammond, Ind. About 2,000 people attended the event, which featured rappers Lil Bibby, Jacqueese, Tink and Riff Raff, organizers said.
Chief Keef partnered with Los Angeles-based Hologram USA to beam his performance to Indiana from a soundstage in Beverly Hills, Calif. The rapper, who has had various legal troubles in Illinois, opted not to return to the Midwest, citing several outstanding warrants.
Organizers encouraged fans to donate $50 to benefit the families of 13-month-old Dillan Harris and Marvin Carr, 22, who were killed July 11. Dillan was killed in the Woodlawn neighborhood by a vehicle fleeing the scene of a shooting that killed Carr, a rapper who went by the name Capo and was an associate of Chief Keef.
To the events detriment there was not much detailed information about where Saturday’s show would actually take place . On Saturday afternoon, Chief Keef posted, then quickly removed, an Instagram photo of Wolf Lake Pavilion, encouraging fans to buy tickets. Later, tweeted that the show would take place at Lincoln Hall in Lincoln Park.
Lincoln Hall representatives had no record of Chief Keef performing at their venue since Rock band Clap Your Hands Say Yeah was already booked to play the venue.
About 9 p.m., Chief Keef’s spokesman, Owen Phillips, confirmed the hologram performance would take place in Hammond. It was also streamed live on filmon.tv.
Chief Keef played one song, his hit “I Don’t Like,” and was talking about putting a stop to violence when the power was cut off.
Police bumrushed toward the stage, turning the music off about 10:25 p.m. Shining flashlights, they ordered concertgoers to leave. Fans who gathered Saturday left the grounds in an orderly fashion, though disappointed.
Sisters Asherah and Stefanae Coleman, of Chicago, stood on the corner of Sheffield and Calumet avenues waiting for their mom to pick them up early. They were furious at the decision to cut the concert short.
“They shut down a hologram and told us we had to leave. (Chief Keef) wasn’t even here,” said Asherah Coleman, 18. “We’re in two different time zones.”
Both sisters said the 6 1/2-hour concert was without incident, and people were having a good time. Then, just as the hologram of Chief Keef was finishing the song “I Don’t Like,” Stefanae said the music was turned down, the screen went black and Hammond police officers holding flashlights ushered people off the stage.
“There was no violence. It was the police who did this,” said Stefanae, 17. “Everyone was happy. … We went through the whole show without any problems.
“They just waited for Chief Keef, and that’s what irks me. (The police) do this, then they get mad that we’re mad. It’s disrespectful to us.”
“Whoever paid the $80 for the VIP tickets got burned,” Asherah Colemn added. “I’m still confused.”
Hammond police Cmdr. Pat Vicari said the promoters were warned the concert would be shut down if Chief Keef performed.
“We spoke to the promoter several times, and they assured us (Chief Keef) would not be performing,” Vicari said. “Later, an officer working the show realized it was being streamed on one of the hip-hop sites, and promoters were warned again they would be shut down.”
It doesn’t matter that the police warned them. Chief Keef is a citizen in America last we heard. And there was no guarantee that his performance would incite violence. Apparently it did not. If he says he wants to send the message out to end violence, then let him. Who better than him? The youth like him. They listen to him.
This sort of over policing or authoritative zealous oppressive behavior is a problem. It is actually very fascist behavior. It is understood that they mean well but there has to be a better way. As shared by some of the attendees, the police;s behavior perpetrates poor relations between them and the people
So the police had the audacity to report that there were no arrests, citations or incidents.
Hologram USA CEO Alki David expressed anger that the concert was shut down so abruptly.
“Shame on the mayor and police chief of Hammond for shutting down a voice that can create positive change in a community in desperate need. And for taking away money that could have gone to help the victims’ families,” David said in a statement. “This was a legal event and there was no justification to shut it down besides your glaring disregard for the first amendment right to free speech.
There is truth in what Aki David said, “Mark my words if you censor us you only make us stronger.” He’s threatening to sue.
Nick Watts, co-CEO of festival organizer Craze Productions, said despite the violent themes in some Chief Keef songs, young people listen to him.
When police shut down the show, “(Chief Keef) said, ‘stop the violence,’ ” said Watts, 21.
“It’s not about necessarily the lyrics in Chief Keef’s songs. He’s who the young people want to see. He’s who they listen to,” said Watts, expressing disappointment the fundraiser was derailed.
“We just really want to make sure we got the message out that we’re stopping the violence and we’re partying in peace,” he said.