Seeing Lil’ Wayne and Juelz Santana live may be cause for excitement among rap fans, but a local City Council candidate is voicing his concern over a concert featuring the rappers at the Du Burns Arena on Saturday (Aug. 18).
The Baltimore Sun reports that a letter was sent Monday (Aug. 13) to Mayor Sheila Dixon and the city’s liquor board by Donald J. Dewar III, a Democratic candidate for the city council seat representing, Canton.
In the letter, Dewar complained about Lil’ Wayne and Santana’s lyrics, as well as Lil Wayne’s criminal record.
He asked for the concert to be canceled and its one-day liquor license be revoked.
“This building is in a residential neighborhood,” said Dewar, who added that the event “doesn’t belong in a neighborhood like this. It belongs in a high-density area.”
The candidate went on to describe lyrics by Santana and Lil Wayne about violence, prostitution and drugs in the letter.
Although he admitted that the songs were protected as free speech, Dewar countered by saying the show is better-suited for downtown venues such as the 1st Mariner Arena as he added that “with all the crime and drugs, having anything like that that promotes it seems inappropriate.”
Despite Dewar’s opposition, Paul Gardner, an attorney for concert promotions company Ikon Entertainment, said the city’s cancellation of the concert would in fact, violate the first amendment.
“It’s unconstitutional to really erect a policy banning one kind of concert based on its content,” Gardner told the Sun, adding that the dispute may carry a bit racial bias. “If Paris Hilton was coming down to the Du Burns Arena on Aug. 18, I do not think Mr. Dewar would be complaining — and she’s” been convicted.”
Dewar’s dispute with the show is related to a June 15 concert featuring rapper Lil’ Kim.
In Dewar’s letter, he claimed that the show “created a mini-riot,” but those allegations were denied by city police spokesman Sterling Clifford, who told The Baltimore Sun that no police were called to the arena that night.
He also added that a security plan has been developed for the city-owned venue and surrounding neighborhood.