I will make a few, more general statements, though:
First, these things do happen, but usually don't have to happen. It appears as if multiple bad decisions were made by multiple people, and these judgments snowballed into one unwarranted, avoidable incident. Violence is never the best way to go about resolving disagreements, and it is even more inappropriate in specific situations. This was one of those situations. David Powell spent countless time and energy putting this event together. It was at the First Ave Mainroom, people. The entire Twin Cities hip-hop scene was on display last night at the premier music venue in Minnesota, and we embarrassed ourselves. This does not reflect well on the prospects of future events of a similar nature. In the future, I hope people think twice before acting so brazenly, and damaging the reputation of everyone else who was supporting a worthy cause.
Second, I have never heard of the individuals who were involved in the fight last night. My position at Midwest Broadcast by no means guarantees that I will know everyone in the Twin Cities scene. However, I like to think that I blog about, or at least am aware of, most the artists doing good things for the Twin Cities scene. In my opinion, if you start a fight at the Twin Cities Hip-Hop Awards, you are not doing good things for the movement. But keep in mind that while this one incident was, more or less, a "disaster," we should not let it diminish the greater purpose of last night's show. There are countless artists, managers, promotes, bloggers, etc. helping unite the Twin Cities hip-hop scene. They are who last night's event was for, and we'll continue to honor and respect their efforts. One clown don't stop the show.
Third, it is important to have open communication and honest opinion being put forth, to not only challenge artists but to commend and support them. I hope that in 2010 Midwest Broadcast can evolve to be a platform for some of that discussion. Comment on this post and let it be known what you think about last night, about the Twin Cities scene, and whatever else is on your mind. For the Twin Cities hip-hop scene to unite and become a truly interconnected community, an open discussion needs to be started. There are countless ways to link up these days, and the blog world can be just one of many forums. I hope people begin using it to its full potential. Obviously, there seem to be several issues that need resolutions.
Fourth, and finally, let's move on. Like I alluded to, there are plenty of beautiful people creating beautiful music in the Twin Cities. We have a very dedicated fan base in the Twin Cities that in many ways separates us from other markets. Furthermore, the intimate fan-artist dynamic is one final thing that makes the Twin Cities, in my opinion, one of the nation's best music scenes. 2010 figures to be a big year, and we still have the majority of the year to right our wrongs. Let's get moving on the right path again.
To peace and progress.
Now that I've said my two cents, I'd like to dedicate the rest of the post to Franz Diego, who, earlier today, wrote an assessment of last night's fight and heartfelt assessment of where we are at as a community right now. He posted it on Facebook and on Frank 151, and graciously granted me permission to repost his words here. Below is a YouTube video of the fight and Franz's letter.
Via Franz Diego:
I have been debating all night and morning what statements I should make about this event and what happened. I have been very upset and saddened by it all so let me try and break it down.
1. People must recognize the efforts and intentions of the folks behind the Awards, namely Depth, who has busted his ass for more than 4 years to put it on with very little help and still sells it out every year.
2. What had been created with the awards was a whole new crowd that has not been seen in over a decade in Minnesota hip hop. What do I mean? Packed venues full of beautiful brown folks celebrating Minnesota hip hop and culture. The press rarely covers it because they don’t understand how difficult it is, it is a feat in itself.
3. I don’t blame First Ave security for their response, because the folks having the issues were not communicating properly and should have taken the proper steps to diffuse the situation.
4. There was LOVE there last night and lots of it, please don’t let one persons poor choices taint what was actually taking place.
Now let me try and recount to you what took place last night.
I arrived with my crew early to hit the red carpet around 845 pm and there was already a significant amount of people there. We mingled, got interviewed by KMOJ, got photographed, networked and caught up with people we havent seen.
There were people from all backgrounds and facets of the Minnesota hip hop community, managers,
promoters, djs, graffiti writers, fans, friends, families, Rhymesayers artist, Doomtree artists, Northsiders, Southsiders, folks from St. Paul, producers, community organizers, youth workers ,the list goes on....
People, this does not happen regularly and I think thats what folks need to understand. Minnesota is extremely segregated when it comes to hip hop and nightlife. And when I say segregated I mean that in all senses of the term, race, culture, economic background, geographically, down to the press coverage of it. So you have to understand I was very happy and high off the people buzzing around and seeing all these new faces and old alike.
Anyways, the night was moving rather smoothly for the ambitiousness of it all, that being to try and award an extremely diverse and segregated community of people and not have folks get upset and try to mess things up.
I must tell you at this point, early on, a scuffle had already occurred, of which was directly in front of me but the people along with security took charge of the situation and stopped it and people moved forward.
At this time, Boima Freeman, the host yelled very loudly over the microphone, "NO FIGHTING, THERE WILL BE NO FIGHTING TONIGHT, IF THERE IS, WER'E ALL GONNA BEAT YOUR ASS AND THROW YOU OUT!" He also said this on into the night a few more times to make the point clear.
So, the night progressed. Performances took place, awards were given, more interviews, more photos, more networking and the crowd! Oh the crowd! It was packed full of brown folks, with a mix of eveyone else, but I have to reiterate it was very beautiful and gave me a lot of hope that maybe we can turn this scene around and maybe we can be more together and break down some barriers. Maybe right?
Well, here’s what happened.
Just before my crew Illuminous 3 was getting on stage, there was a minor technical difficulty that the stage hands and folks were fixing so we could perform. However it was not communicated to the host that the performance could not take place as scheduled until the problem was fixed, so the hosts anounces us: "AND NOW TO THE STAGE: ILLUMINOUS 3!" well, we weren’t ready, the problem was still being fixed, so we were just off stage behind the speakers.
So this is when the skills of being a true host come into play. Stalling. He needed to buy some time while the difficulties were being smoothed out and being known as a comedian, he went into joking with the crowd, as a host should.
Well, here comes a random guy onto the stage who grabs a mic and just starts yelling stuff. Now here’s where things get hairy; I dont know who that guy was or how he got back stage to get on to the actual stage but it happened, and this may be a fault of the security, I dont know, I don’t have the information. Regardless, the man was not supposed to be there, but the problem was that it was very hard to tell if it was an act, or random situation that the host was trying to remedy with humor, either way, the host started sort of roasting the guy and the guy seemed to take it alright, I guess... But then the Host got upset that the man was not leaving and started calling for security, yelling it out loud repeatedly, but still, it appeared as if he was joking, he did not change his demeanor or tone of voice, it just seemed like a joke.
Next thing I know, they get closer and the host is swinging on the man and then all hell breaks loose people rush security and the stage, grab bottles and other objects and just start punching and kicking.
Well, security gets in eventually, separates folks, the curtains come down, mics unplugged and everyone is just kind of confused what just happened.
Here’s what happened. One person's actions, or depending on how you look at it, 2 peoples action destroyed the entire event and evening for everybody, as well as the reputation of these sort of events at a place like First Ave.
My disappointment is directed at the host who is always the number one person in control at an event, the control the crowd, how folks are feeling and keep things right and moving. To me, what he did was panic, in a situation where he did not know what to do, he did one of the poorest things possible and used violence. If he really needed security he could of walked over to them, who were all over on both sides of the stage and told them that they need to take him off, he could of grabbed the organizers of the event and had him addressed, there were certain alternatives that he did not use.
The host was the same person yelling earlier in the night that they would not tolerate fighting, the number one person in the building that night advocating non-violence was the person who got in a fight and sabotaged the night.
And for this poor decision, we have all suffered, a beautiful coming together of people celebrating our own culture, which very seldom happens in a place like Minnesota, sabotaged by the actions of few.
I am so personally hurt by this because I have seen the beauty of this community, since I entered into it as a young teenager. I have been so welcomed, guided and taken care of by so many people in this city under the umbrella of hip hop culture that it is a part of me and I want to reciprocate it. We need events like these, we need to grow and celebrate and share and network and show off and have fun, we need that more desperately now than ever. But people have to understand the value of that first and until they do, we will continue to have problems such as these.
I know that people will have things to say to me about this, good and negative, I know I dont have all the facts and I am not here to attack people or start beef or anything. But I need to let folks know what I saw from my perception because when it hits the rumor mill and the press, its garaunteed that they will mess it up. If I am wrong correct me. Talk to me, I’m available.
I send love to everyone who showed up, got nominated, performed, presented awards, photographed, interviewed, filmed, danced, promoted, or organized at the event last night. Lets remember what was taking place before things got bad, but let us also understand why things got bad so we can prevent it in the future.