Saturday, July 5, 2008

Socialist Rapper Boots Riley Learns About Limits On Free Speech

I will not lie to you - I haven't liked this guy since his days guest appearing on Bill Maher's show where he announced that he was a SOCIALIST. I am blessed that he has no power and authority over me.

I am glad, however, that a community is enforcing their level of decency upon him.

Rapper Boots Riley Disputes Abusive Language Charges

By Chris Richburg

A recent concert featuring Boots Riley resulted in charges of "abusive language" against the rapper. Sources told the charges originated from a law that had never been applied to a performer and was enforced for the first time in 26 years at last week's event.

Riley, who is best known as the front man for the Oakland, Ca.-based rap group The Coup, was performing at the Bayou Boogaloo and Cajun Food festival at Towne Point Park in Norfolk, VA on June 21, when he was charged. "City Officials claim that they are making the statement that profanity will not be tolerated," Riley said. "Obviously, since no one has been charged with this in 26 years, profanity is tolerated. The statement they are making is that the culture and the people they feel I represent won't be tolerated."

The Park is located in an area populated by recently built high-priced condos. Plans are currently underway for the location to receive an $11.5 million makeover.
According to sources, the language in questions centers around a song Riley performed which included the phrase "What the F***? in the chorus. The rapper maintains that the festival organizers, FestEvents, knew about the song beforehand.

He also claims he was told that neither the company nor the city were concerned about swearing. Riley also disputed reports saying there was a "slew" of profanity. Riley believes the charges were racially motivated, as part of a backlash from the recent Afr'Am Festival in Norfolk.

During that event, several "noise complaints" were made against gospel and R&B performers who adhered to the same noise decibel parameters that were required for other festivals in Norfolk.

Riley further stated that he was already off stage when authorities arrived.
"This happened at 10 p.m., and it was far from a 'family' atmosphere, most of the audience was intoxicated after drinking at the festival's bar - 'The Missing Kidney'," Riley noted. "There was also a VIP section where free alcohol was distributed by the keg. Anyone who has been to a music festival on a Saturday night understands the scene."
Despite claims by FestEvents that he left the park after the incident, Riley maintains that he remained at the event as he disputed the "validity of the charge with police and festival promoters."

As a result, the rapper believes the incident reflects a deeper issue at hand.

"It is clear that this is part of a larger debate that has nothing to do with profanity, one that is being dealt with nationwide," said Riley. "That debate is about racism, gentrification and the ownership of public space."

At this time, the city of Norfolk plans to move forward with the charge against Riley

It figures doesn't it that.......

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