Who’s carrying on the legacies of C. Delores Tucker and Tipper Gore?
As it turns out, two mayors in the Midwest.
Both Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Thomas M. McDermott Jr., the mayor of Hammond, Ind., used their offices to put the kibosh on hologram performances by rapper Chief Keef.
On Saturday night, police cut the power at a Hammond hip-hop festival one song into a surprise hologram performance by Keef, whose real name is Keith Cozart. The rapper is from Chicago but lives in California. He has an outstanding warrant in Illinois for lapsed child-support payments.
The hologram performance, which would have been on the back of a flatbed truck, was also scheduled to be live-streamed. It was part of a benefit to raise money for the families of Marvin Carr, a rapper from the South Side of Chicago who performed under the name Capo, and Dillan Harris. Dillan, who was 13 months old, was stuck by a car fleeing police during a chase following the fatal shooting of Carr.
Keef was originally slated to perform a free concert, via hologram, in Chicago. Emanuel’s office shut down the performance and said Keef’s music “promotes violence” and poses “a significant public safety risk.”
So his representatives worked out an arrangement with Craze Fest promoters; the hologram concert, which would be live-streamed on FilmOn, would be the surprise final act for Craze Fest, and Keef would still be able to raise money for the families.
Despite organizers’ insistence that Craze Fest is a peaceful event, Law Cannon, the creator of Craze Productions, said the police presence became heightened Saturday night once word of the hologram performance began to trickle out, the idea being that even a digital rendering of Chief Keef would incite unrest.
“In Chicago, it’s a really big focus on the violence,” Cannon said. “We would bring out 2,000 people, play any kind of genre, and we would never have any kind of violence, any kind of shooting. People come out, have a good time and then get ready for the next one.”
But police pulled the plug on the generators powering the hologram after Keef’s hologram performed one song, his biggest hit, “I Don’t Like,” which he preceded with a plea for peace. “Stop the violence, stop nonsense, stop the killing,” Keef said. “Let the kids grow up.”
“I truly believe it was political,” Cannon said. “Rahm Emanuel placed every call possible to make this not happen.”
“I know nothing about Chief Keef,” McDermott said in an interview with the New York Times. “All I’d heard was he has a lot of songs about gangs and shooting people — a history that’s anti-cop, pro-gang and pro-drug use. He’s been basically outlawed in Chicago, and we’re not going to let you circumvent Mayor Emanuel by going next door.”
Cannon likened the hologram performance, which had been recorded before the concert, to a video projection of a featured artist playing behind the live main act at a concert, only rendered in three dimensions.
“He wasn’t even there,” Cannon said. “Chief Keef is in Los Angeles, probably sitting in his house playing with a paintball gun.”
Alki David, the chief executive of Hologram USA and FilmOn, said the actions by police, McDermott and Emanuel amount to censorship.
“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,” David said in a statement via a-mail. “And for taking away money that could have gone to help the victims’ families. 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. You’ve clearly been bullied by the proud mayor of the Murder Capitol of the U.S., Rahm Emanuel. Mark my words if you censor us you only make us stronger. Plus we’ll be back to sue your a–.”
A representative for David and Keef said that the fundraiser will continue, and that plans for a new concert will be announced soon.
“They still feel as if Chief Keef’s music — whatever you hear in the lyrics is going to happen right there,” Cannon said. “At the end of the day, like heavy metal, they might produce a song about killing but it’s not emphasized as much as Chief Keef.”
So did Cannon think the police would have shut down, say, a surprise Megadeth hologram?
“Of course not,” Cannon said. “It would have went completely through.”