Lawmaker Accuses Capital City Leaders of Censoring Concerts

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. - Police concerned about safety in the capital city has lawmakers concerned about censorship.

The Little Rock Police Department sent letters to two venues in the past two weeks regarding Hip Hop artist appearances there.

The letters ask the venues to allow input from police on their security measures, following the mass shooting at a Little Rock nightclub and other tragedies throughout the country. 

But one lawmaker said there's a common thread here: music genre.

"We have general censorship based on emotions," said Rep. Charles Blake, D-Little Rock. "That's not what we want. That's not who we are as a city."

A poster on the La'Changes Facebook page announced a VIP meet and greet with R&B singer, Jacquees, this Sunday. It stresses the club strictly enforces security.  

Ahead of his appearance, Little Rock police released its own bulletin of sorts Tuesday to the owner of La'Changes, expressing concern over his security plan. 

"It's saying we really don't want you if you're Hip Hop, if you're rap or if you're a genre that we don't approve of," Rep. Blake said. 

This is the second time in two weeks Rep. Blake has spoken out against the city.

Police sent a similar letter to Clear Channel Metroplex ahead of Moneybagg Yo's concert there Friday, Oct. 13. It detailed how gun violence followed the rapper at several of his previous concerts.

Mayor Mark Stodola pushed for the concert's cancellation, after Chief Kenton Buckner had been satisfied with the security plans. The venue's owner ultimately decided to cancel it.

"I continue to be disappointed with the actions of our leadership," Blake said. "We've had ample time to take the necessary steps, to move forward."

The similar letter to La'Changes also highlights the shootings that follow Jacquees.

The first mentioned in the letter said, "The shooting did not appear to involve the performer." A news report stated he was never at the show. 

The second example the letter mentioned said, "Local gang members fired shots due to 'Jacquees' refusing to pay protection money." Another news report said the shots rang out after the concert in a parking lot, and no one was hurt. 

Nevertheless, the letter said, "Such events require a significant amount of security."

"It's sad that we're such a progressive city, but when it comes to something like this, everybody just loses their minds," Blake said.

Rep. Blake reiterated what he told Mayor Stodola: there needs to be standard security rules and regulations for all venues. 

"There's music across this city every single night," Blake said. "If everyone is not raising their standards of security at their venues then nobody should have to." 

Lt. Michael Ford said Chief Buckner had a meeting with the owner of La'Changes but couldn't comment further if the chief was also satisfied with his plan. 

As of Thursday, the meet and greet with Jacquees will go on as scheduled. 


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