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Mayor Rahm Vs. Chief Keef

City Hall officials asked an East Pilsen theater not to allow a benefit concert by Chief Keef who was supposed to appear by hologram to help memorialize a toddler killed in the aftermath of a shooting, according to a spokeswoman for Mayor Rahm Emanuel," the Tribune reports.

"On Saturday, Emanuel spokeswoman Kelley Quinn said officials with Emanuel's office reached out to urge Redmoon [Theater] officials to not allow the concert by Keef, whose real name is Keith Cozart.

"The mayor's administration called Redmoon and informed them that the show by Mr. Cozart, whose music promotes violence, posed a significant public safety risk," Quinn said.

Okay, there's all kinds of wrong going on here.

1. "The plan for the Chicago concert was to project a hologram of Chief Keef on a stage built into a parked semitrailer as the rapper sang on a soundstage in Beverly Hills, Calif."

That was a horrible idea destined for failure - and I won't even make the requisite Redmoon Theater joke here (or did I just?).

Why the hologram?

"Organizers said Chief Keef couldn't attend the concert in person because of outstanding warrants out for him. Records show a July 2014 warrant out for nonpayment of child support and a warrant issued last year out of Lake County for driving under the influence of drugs."

2. "[Alki] David's company Hologram USA also planned to live-stream the concert on filmon.com and charge a $50 minimum donation to attend, Hologram USA spokesman Owen Phillips said."

That's a bit much to see a hologram.

3. "Any money raised at the concert, and matched by Chief Keef and David, reportedly would to go to the family of the boy."

What boy?

"According to Keef's promoters, the concert was planned after Dillan Harris, 13 months, was killed on July 11 when a car struck his stroller on a sidewalk in the 6300 block of South Ellis Avenue in the Woodlawn neighborhood.

"Antoine Watkins, 21, of the 8100 block of South Bennett Avenue in Chicago, was charged Monday with murder and attempting to elude police in connection with Harris' death.

"Police say Watkins was fleeing the shooting of Marvin Carr, a Chicago rapper known as Capo who was affiliated with Chief Keef. Carr, 22, was shot in the 7700 block of South Kingston Avenue in the South Shore neighborhood and later died, according to authorities."

So Keef, in a way, was taking some measure of responsibility for the death of Harris - or at least trying to show some compassion for an incident to which he was associated with.

Still, it seems like an odd way to do that.

4. "Redmoon on Thursday said it would not host the concert because it did not 'understand the full nature of the event.'"

What the fuck does that mean?

More likely, Redmoon didn't want to damage its extraordinary relationship with the mayor, which has somehow snagged another $100,000 in taxpayer money to set a fire - this time on Northerly Island.

5. As much as the concert may not have been a good idea, it's also not a good idea for the city to decide what kinds of art are acceptable. Safety concerns weren't the only ones, you see, voiced by the city.

"The city called Redmoon and requested that they not host the event," mayoral spokesperson Kelley Quinn told the Sun-Times. "The reasons were pretty clear: Not only is he an unacceptable role model, but he promotes violence."

It's not up to Rahm Emanuel to decide who is an acceptable role model.

6. Rev. Michael Pfleger didn't help matters, despite the backing of a media that likes to tally weekend violence for clicks and self-satisfaction but doesn't seem to understand it.

From the Sun-Times:

Forget the concert. Send a check instead.

That's Father Michael Pfleger's response to rapper Chief Keef's plan to hold a concert in memory of a rapper friend slain in gun violence over the weekend, as well as a toddler who died in the aftermath.

Earlier Monday, Pfleger had an even more blunt message for the rapper on his Facebook page: "SHUT UP!!!!!"

Nice.

"Chief Keef has announced that he will hold a benefit concert to raise funds for his friend and the Baby who were killed this past weekend....REALLY...Chief Keef is one of the reasons we have all this violence...he has been one of the encourager's of the Violence," wrote the outspoken pastor who has taken to the pulpit and the streets to fight gun violence.

Right. Let's blame Chief Keef. He's the one who segregated the city and created the ghettos and closed 50 schools and moved TIF districts from blighted areas to the Loop and raises interest rates every time too many people get jobs and maintains the economic structure dependent on cheap labor and a permanent underclass - and endorsed Rahm.

"Instead of having a concert...why doesn't he Man Up and acknowledge it's time to stop this violence and Apologize for his part in it!!!! we don't need a concert...we need PEACE......7 DEAD and 24 SHOT this weekend and he wants to do a concert.....Chief Keef....SHUT UP!!!!!" the post ends.

Within five hours of the post being put up on Facebook, it had more than 400 likes.

Is that a lot? Pfleger's rudimentary complaint about Donald Trump has more than 2,700 likes. His Facebook page is liked by more than 69,000 people.

Later Monday, Pfleger branded Keef a hypocrite for this week announcing the formation of a new anti-violence foundation, while embracing violence through his music.

Isn't Keef forming an anti-violence foundation exactly what has been asked of him by the likes of Pfleger? And I'm not sure his music "embraces" violence. Where he grew up isn't exactly Mai Tais and Yahtzee.

Pfleger said the rapper could be a "very strong voice for peace. But the question is, does he have the courage to be the voice for peace?"

I think we're trying to find out. Squelching him doesn't help.

7. For his part, Keef released this statement:

"I'm with the 'Stop The Violence' campaign. That's why I paintball now. Everybody go pick up some paintball lessons, go to the field. I think it's a big deal to do that. It's crazy back home. I'm glad to be someone that people can look up to and listen to. I'm glad that I can be able to change the situation and the scenery that's going on around Chicago. I love my city still."

Look, the dude has at least some degree of talent. And he's a paintball nut. He's really into it. If he thinks it will help to encourage gangbangers to drop the guns and pick up paintball, well, okay. He's probably not going to be the one to come up with solutions, though, y'all understand.

But then, neither is Pfleger. And neither is Rahm. They've had their chance.

8. The Tribune editorial page sees what it wants to see.

Father Pfleger had it exactly right. His outrage was precise, on point. His words were far more productive than a Chief Keef rap concert, which isn't going to happen anyway.

Pfleger's ranting was hardly precise. And in what way was it productive? Did he get the concert stopped? If so, are you telling me that the city would have been fine with it if not for Pfleger's political pressure? We're now going to let Pfleger decide who gets to play shows here? I don't seem to remember Pfleger complaining about Rahm Emanuel attending a Robin Thicke concert and dancing to the rapey, Cosby-esque "Blurred Lines."

It wasn't that long ago that fellow Chicago rapper Che "Rhymefest" Smith called Chief Keef "a spokesman for the Prison Industrial Complex."

A spokesman for the prison-industrial complex, or its inevitable result? I'd peg the Tribune as spokespeople for the prison-industrial complex a hundred times over before it would even occur to me to lay that on Keef.

"He represents the senseless savagery that white people see when the news speaks of Chicago violence," Smith wrote in a 2012 online essay.

That's racist, y'all.

It's not about what white people see on the news - black people are appalled by the news too. It's also about the images the news perpetuates about violence that warps people's perceptions. Also, savagery is a pretty loaded word choice. Who are the real savages?

Chief Keef grew up in Englewood, where drugs, gangs and guns are embedded in the landscape. Some of his earliest recordings were made while he was 16, living with his grandmother under house arrest for allegedly pointing a gun at a police officer. He's lost a stepbrother and a cousin to street violence.

And you wonder about his music?

In the meantime, we hope Keef is busy writing lots of songs. If he wants to be a change agent, he's going to need some new material.

The same could be said of Rahm Emanuel - and the Tribune editorial page.

-

Previously in Chief Keef:

* South Side 16-Year-Old Gets Shot, Blows Up.

* Rhymefest Vs. Chief Keef.

* Chief Keef's Deadly Rap War.

* More Shit Chief Keef Don't Like.

* Chief Keef Loves Soda, Ain't White.

* Chief Keef: Baller Of Confusion.

* Free Chief Keef!

* Save Chief Keef.

* Chief Keef: Psychedrillic.

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Comments welcome.



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Posted on July 22, 2015


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