LITTLE ROCK, Ark.(Arkansas Times)- Little Rock police have again raised concerns about a musician scheduled to appear in Little Rock because of problems at past concerts in other cities.
The City Board has been copied on the police letter, which asks to meet with a club operator about security arrangements.
The event in question is scheduled Sunday at La'Changes, a long-established club operated by Herbert Broadway at 3315 W. Roosevelt. The performer, according to a letter signed by Hayward Finks as acting police chief, is Rodriquez Jacquees Broadnax, who performs as Jacquees . (Chief Kenton Buckner is at a conference in Philadelphia.) Press accounts describe Jacquees as an R&B singer who crossed over to hip-hop.
UPDATE: Justin Cox, who is a photographer who handles calls at La'Changes, said several things relative to the letter of concern. First, Jacquees will not be having a show or concert, he'll just be meeting fans. It will start about 11 p.m. Cox said that appearance follows a concert earlier in the evening at the Statehouse Convention Center, which he said he believed to be related to Philander Smith homecoming. "If they want to write letters, they ought to write the Statehouse Convention Center," Cox said. I have been unable, however, so far to find a listing for a concert at Statehouse at that time. No concert is listed on the schedule of event for Philander's homecoming. Cox said La'Changes had seen a flyer for a 7 p.m. Sunday show that prompted them to get in touch with Jacquees to arrange the meet and greet.
Nonetheless, Cox said Broadway HAD told him today he'd talked with police about security arrangements and believed they were satisfied. He also insisted Jacquees is known more as an R&B artist than as a rapper. "I'm listening to him right now on the radio," he said.
The letter said police intelligence had found two occasions when violence had been associated with a Jacquees show, though the performer wasn't involved. Two men were shot Feb. 13 before a show in Davenport, Iowa and Finks' letter said Jacquees didn't complete the show. A news account said, however, that Jacquees never arrived for the show. July 21, at a concert in Waukegan, Ill., shots reportedly were fired by gang members because Jacquees refused to pay protection money, the police letter said. A Chicago Tribune account said, however, that shots were fired after the concert in a parking lot. No one was hurt.
The letter said such events require "significant" security. It said Broadway should get in touch with police to discuss plans for the event and "the security measures that will be needed." It said Broadway had employed off-duty officers in the past and the police wanted to know how many certified police officers would be employed "to assure the safety of concert patrons and the officers."
This letter was sent to Broadway Tuesday. In that respect, the City Board is getting more notice than it received for a recent scheduled show at Metroplex by a rapper whose concerts in other states had been marred by violence. The city board and mayor talked about going to court to stop that show, but the promoter decided to cancel the appearance by Money Bagg Yo. Mayor Mark Stodola's push to stop the show — after the chief had indicated he was satisfied with security plans — drew criticism from opponents in his race for re-election next year. As yet, no city official has expressed a concern other than about shows by black performers.
City Manager Bruce Moore, in informing the City Board, said the city would "follow up" if Broadway fails to respond.
La'Changes Facebook page indicates a lot of interest. Advance tickets are $10 and $25 for VIP.
Handling of this will be watched with interest. The police believe they are doing their job. The white establishment undoubtedly would prefer shows by many black artists be banned. The police chief, to his credit, has indicated he doesn't want to be in the position of deciding which shows can and cannot go forward in Little Rock. But it all smacks a little too much of the old city Censor Board that used to preview movies and review literature and other materials to decide whether any were unsuitable for showing on Little Rock screens. (oh, yes, we did have such a thing. for 70 years. See the Encyclopedia of Arkansas History. Its existence prompted a court case before "Hair" could be staged here in 1971. And then came an arrest of a theater operator for showing "Deep Throat" in 1973. Court ruling against that sort of censorship finally brought the censor board to an end.)
Censorship aside, you do have to wonder if the police will write similar letters to late-night clubs that welcome hat acts (some known for parking lot scuffles, too) and also keep city board informed, or if this is just a practice that will be limited to black performers.
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