Rapper Chief Keef appeared — via hologram — at a Hammond music festival Saturday night, but his performance was shut down by police within minutes.
The concert, planned as a benefit for an infant 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. But pressure from City Hall, which said the show “posed a significant public safety risk,” caused the theater to cancel the event.
Instead, Chief Keef, a Chicago native whose real name is Keith Cozart, planned a show at an undisclosed location, at first thought to be in Chicago
That turned out to be Craze Fest, a day-long 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, said organizers.
Chief Keef partnered with Los Angeles-based Hologram USA to beam his performance to Indiana from a soundstage in Beverly Hills. 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 Woodlawn by a vehicle fleeing the scene of a shooting that killed Carr, a rapper who went by Capo and was an associate of Chief Keef.
But information about where Saturday’s show would actually take place was in short supply. On Saturday afternoon, Chief Keef posted, then quickly removed, an Instagram photo of Wolf Lake Pavilion, encouraging fans to buy tickets. Later, he wrote on Twitter the show would take place at Lincoln Hall in Lincoln Park.
Lincoln Hall representatives denied the rapper would perform there. Rock band Clap Your Hands Say Yeah was already booked to play the venue.
At 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 rushed toward the stage, turning the music off at about 10:25 p.m. Shining flashlights, they ordered concertgoers to leave. Fans that gathered Saturday left the grounds in an orderly fashion, though disappointed.
Sisters Asherah and Stefanae Coleman of Chicago stood waiting 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,” Asherah Coleman, 18, said. “We’re in two different time zones.”
The two said the six-and-a-half 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.”
Police said 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,” said David 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.”
“Mark my words if you censor us you only make us stronger,” he said, threatening to sue.
Nick Watts, co-CEO of festival organizer Craze Productions, said despite the violent themes in some Chief Keef’s songs, young people listen to him.
When police shut down the show, “[Chief Keef] said, ‘stop the violence,'” Watts, 21, said.
“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.
Source: Chicago Tribune