State Rep. Charles Blake blasts city push to shut down rap show | Arkansas Blog

Friday, October 13, 2017

State Rep. Charles Blake blasts city push to shut down rap show

Posted By on Fri, Oct 13, 2017 at 4:36 PM

State Rep. Charles Blake of Little Rock has spoken forcefully on Mayor Mark Stodola's successful push to shut down a rap concert that had been planned tonight at the Metroplex.

Blake says more eloquently some of the same things I said on today's weekly podcast, which is now on-line. Where does the city get off shutting down shows based on content? I added,  as Blake intimated, that there's an undeniable racial element in what happened.

I turn the floor over to Blake's Facebook post:

I just read the public statement by Mayor Mark Stodola regarding the canceling of a Hip Hop concert tonight in Little Rock, and I'm flabbergasted. As an advocate for small business, as an advocate for entrepreneurs, as an advocate for racial and social justice, as a believer in the 1st amendment, as well as an advocate and lover of Hip Hop, I can not understand how applying pressure to cancel this show ( even after an upgrade to 15 police officers, event security, and metal detectors) makes our city any safer.

When did we decide as a city, that we would determine who and what kind of art is acceptable in Little Rock. As a "progressive" city, as we claim, the opposite should be in effect. We should embrace all art forms and use measures to deter incidents from happening, not abstaining from an art form for fear of what could happen. 15 officers plus event staff should suffice for the safety of our citizens.

The irony of this situation is that 50+ people were killed at a country music concert in Las Vegas last week, and the artist who was there is at Verizon Arena tonight, just across the river. But there is no discussion on canceling that show. Why is that?

Real leadership is not using your bully pulpit to shut down a concert, or hurt small businesses in your own city. It is advocating for policies that might actually make a difference like: pushing your Police Department to make a real effort at community policing, or pushing for more gun safety laws to curb gun violence, or to help set up rules and regulations on concerts and music events that are transparent and uniform across the board.

As I have stated before, I continue to be disappointed in our leadership.
Note that, though the mayor's statement might have been taken otherwise, no news accounts of the two shows at which shooting occurred and Money Bagg Yo was involved suggested an involvement of the performer in the incidents. He was the scheduled performer. Both shootings involved people in the crowd at clubs that apparently hadn't kept weapons off the premises.

Interesting politics here. Stodola's effort yesterday will undoubtedly endear him to some voters. Perhaps not the same percentage in the black community, which will sense racial currents in the city's panicky response last night.  Stodola is seeking re-election next year. He has two announced opponents, Frank Scott Jr., who happens to be black, and Warwick Sabin. The city population is a bit more than 40 percent black. A 40 percent vote is sufficient to win a municipal race where no candidate has a majority.

How deranged has LR become/how distant from the U.S. Constitution? Check the quote from City Director Dean Kumpuris, circulated by a Democrat-Gazette reporter.
Sue a concert promoter for using its facility to have a hip hop show? Really? I think even the Arkansas Supreme Court might hesitate to shut it down.

And speaking of Kumpuris: Look soon for members of the black community to resume talking  about doing something to end Little Rock's current election system, in which three directors (one of them Kumpuris) elected at large combine with three directors from the high-income parts of town to control city business, generally as directed by the city business establishment. It's past time for ward elections and a true strong mayor. What we have now isn't working.

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