Officials in San Bernardino county are opposed
to "The Night Hip-Hop Stole Christmas," a concert that is to take
place Saturday (Dec. 21) at the National Orange Show Events Center.
"Some artists draw a criminal element,’
Mayor Judith Valles told the San Bernardino Sun. "I recognize that young
people like (hip-hop) and young people need a place to listen to their music.’
The event, which may draw up to as many as 5,000
people, was to host a graffiti art battle during the concert and that also has
the police concerned.
"Unfortunately, taggers leave a trail when
they come and when they go," Chief Garrett Zimmon added. Zimmons’ was concerned
that the surrounding buildings in the area may be vandalized.
The graffiti battles were dropped because of
the expense of the murals, not because of city pressure organizer Peter Varady
said. Varady publishes the L.A. based Subterranean Periodical. Varady said that
he hoped to attract real artists and not taggers, saying there was a distinct
difference between the two.
Zimmons’ admitted that acts of violence at hip-hop
concerts in San Bernardino were rare. Still, the Events Center is considering
boosting security from one guard per 100 attendees to two. That would be in
addition to the police presence.
"When they think of hip-hop, they think
of weed and fighting and the bad stuff," Varady said. "We promote
positive hip-hop. We have a certain crowd, people who are intellectuals, people
who go to (hear) spoken word and poetry."