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Old 06-08-2009, 07:17 AM  
Deberg_1990 Deberg_1990 is offline
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Incident at P&L District shocks DJ Jazzy Jeff

Wow......Unreal.



http://www.kansascity.com/226/story/1238798.html



Another day, another racial controversy at the Power & Light District.

For a year, the black community has been in arms about perceived racism at the entertainment district, a place their tax money helped fund. But it’s always rebutted. Everyone is welcome at the P&L, officials say.

Well, those who follow the hip-hop music scene have more to chew on since late Saturday night, when one of hip-hop’s icons, DJ Jazzy Jeff, cut short a set of music and left the stage in a dispute over the kind of music his show was spinning.

I walked in just as he was walking off the stage. He had performed less than 30 minutes.

The crowd booed and I heard people, both black and white, yell about how the Power & Light didn’t want him to play hip-hop. I wasn’t sure what happened, but I knew it was bad.

A conversation I had with him early Sunday confirmed it.

He might be best known as one half of DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince, but he is more than Will Smith’s old DJ and friend. The two won the first rap Grammy.

Jeff Townes, his given name, is legendary. He introduced “transforming,” the scratching technique turntablists use. This man has toured for 25 years. He’s an acclaimed producer.

So what exactly happened?

According to his tweets (twitter.com/djjazzyjeff215), he was kicked offstage for playing hip-hop. Jon Stephens, president of the Power & Light District, says it was about the sound levels.

“The issue that arose with the performance last night was completely about the sound levels,” he said Sunday. “His audio tech was maxing out the sound system to a point that risked damage to the speakers and sound system. His sound techs and management refused to bring the decibel level down. They were told to bring it down or cease performance. They refused to go on.”

Hours after he returned to his Philadelphia home, I spoke to Jazzy Jeff on the phone to hear his side.

His set started with sounds of hip-hop and pop favorites — Jay-Z, Biz Markie, Rihanna. His MC, Skillz, hyped up the crowd.

But after 15 minutes or so, in the middle of an R&B hit by Ne-Yo, “Miss Independent,” he was told to stop.

“My road manager walked up to me and said they were having problems with the music I was playing,” Jazzy Jeff told me. “I played three more songs and he comes back. I knew something was wrong. They said I had to kick Skillz off the stage, change the format of the music I was playing or quit. They said if I continued playing they had 30 cops ready to come escort me offstage. So I stopped.”

Jon Stephens says that isn’t so.

“Obviously we have a desire to book a diversity of acts,” he said. “We booked Jazzy Jeff on a Saturday night, the biggest night of the week in the district. We were excited to have him there. It’s unfortunate that his sound and management people had problems adhering to the sound and audio rules. We wanted him to play. That’s why we booked him.”

Jazzy Jeff was excited to play here too.

But it all went wrong. Venue officials said the set attracted the wrong kind of element, he says.

“They said they didn’t like Skillz’s posture,” Jeff said. “They said he made gang-like signs and grabbed at his genitals.”

So P&L officials wanted him offstage. But Jeff felt it was wrong because Skillz is no gang member. He is a father. His hand gestures were the kind of excited movements you make to get the crowd excited.

He wasn’t cursing or being offensive.

“I was playing Rihanna; she is Top 40,” he says. “If they would have let my set play, they would have known I play everything. I play rock, funk, soul, pop, hip-hop, reggae. I don’t play for a certain genre, race or gender. I play for music lovers.”

In his 25-year career, at 44 years old, Jeff has never been told to end a set because of hip-hop. He says he has never felt that kind of racism. The “element” that officials referred to felt like a reference to black people, a hip-hop crowd.

“I’m in shock,” he says. “I didn’t understand what element they were talking about. I looked out in the crowd and it was multicultural, but about 75 percent white. Everyone was having a great time. I wondered what was so offensive. I never had a race issue. I didn’t know how to feel. I was playing ‘Just a Friend.’ Is that offensive? What element? It’s uncomfortable when you feel unwanted.”
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Old 06-08-2009, 07:24 AM   #2
Lzen Lzen is offline
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I'm not sure I'm buying the claim that they didn't like the hip hop. It doesn't make sense why they would book a hip hop performer if they didn't want that "element".
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Old 06-08-2009, 07:27 AM   #3
Deberg_1990 Deberg_1990 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lzen View Post
I'm not sure I'm buying the claim that they didn't like the hip hop. It doesn't make sense why they would book a hip hop performer if they didn't want that "element".
Yea, kind of strange isnt it?
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Old 06-08-2009, 07:29 AM   #4
bishop_74 bishop_74 is offline
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...and how is that racial if they invited him? At the very least they hate Hip Hop not black people.
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Old 06-08-2009, 07:37 AM   #5
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Old 06-08-2009, 07:41 AM   #6
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For a year, the black community has been in arms about perceived racism at the entertainment district, a place their tax money helped fund. But it’s always rebutted. Everyone is welcome at the P&L, officials say.


I would go as far as saying that most of the black people complaining about this so called racism at the PL district, DON'T pay taxes. But thats just me.

Who can blame them though? They're revamping that entire side of the city and they don't want it to completely and immediately turn into what Westport has become, which has been take over by crime and drug addicts and gangs.

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Old 06-08-2009, 07:44 AM   #7
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They should just play Amish music. But then again, they'd have to deal with horse poop.
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Old 06-08-2009, 07:51 AM   #8
Nzoner Nzoner is offline
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P&L should be a little more concerned about their bar in the public area,I paid $10(including $2 tip) to have a margarita brought to me that tasted like bad,weak lemonade and when I complained the waitress offered me $1 of my tip money back so I went to the bar to complain and that did no good.They're dead to me,if and when I go back I'll drink from the other bars.
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Old 06-08-2009, 07:55 AM   #9
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Old 06-08-2009, 07:59 AM   #10
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Old 06-08-2009, 08:00 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lzen View Post
I'm not sure I'm buying the claim that they didn't like the hip hop. It doesn't make sense why they would book a hip hop performer if they didn't want that "element".
That was my thought. His story makes less sense than the owner's.
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Old 06-08-2009, 08:01 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lzen View Post
I'm not sure I'm buying the claim that they didn't like the hip hop. It doesn't make sense why they would book a hip hop performer if they didn't want that "element".
Yeah, I'm not buying the race card in this one. Why book him if you don't want rap played in the P&L district? Thats his musical style.

But, I do agree that the P&L is bordering on racial profiling with its rules. And I understand why. Just look at how fast and far Westport has fallen. You can't operate a business if the clients are scared to park and walk outside near your business.
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I'm not saying it's morally right or wrong, but does it make the child because of it? Think about that for a second.
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Old 06-08-2009, 08:03 AM   #13
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Reading between the lines, Jeff may actually believe and have been told that by his people. It makes his management look better to be railing against the man than to admit they thought they were above the rules.
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Old 06-08-2009, 08:11 AM   #14
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I live in the river market and have never stopped in the p & l. Its a joke.
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Old 06-08-2009, 08:17 AM   #15
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I actually visited Westport for the first time in many years a couple of weekends ago because a friend of the wife wanted to celebrate her 30'th down there.

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