A Fort Lauderdale, Fla., rap and hip-hop concert Easter weekend didn’t end up being the problem that local police expected it to be.
The So Fly For Spring Break concert, featuring
The Fort Lauderdale Fraternal Order of Police had placed an ad in the South Florida Sun-Sentinel reportedly to alert the community that the police department is understaffed and working the April 15th concert would diminish manpower for the rest of the city.
About 45 officers and four sergeants working overtime at the event, which was on the grounds near Fort Lauderdale Stadium, found little to keep them occupied. No problems were reported and no arrests were made, the paper said.
Concert promoter Kandice James, CEO of Sweet Productions, said the ad depicting a blonde woman calling for help on her cell phone after her purse was stolen by an armed robber was discriminatory and inflammatory.
“It’s a tragedy, it’s a shame, it’s a disgrace that in 2006 we have to continue with this type of blatant discrimination,” James told the Sun-Sentinel. “We’re being roadblocked because it’s an African-American event, not just because it’s a hip-hop event.”
FOP President Jack Lokeinsky said the ad did not target the hip-hop and rap concert itself, but was merely informing the community that officers would be otherwise engaged.
“It was time for a public awareness campaign to address what we feel is a shortage of manpower in the police force,” Lokeinsky told the paper. “The So Fly concert was the straw that broke the camel’s back … I could care less what type of event it was.”
Of the more than a dozen public service ads the union has placed in the last 20 years, this was the first about a concert, Lokeinsky added.
It’s uncertain why there was such a low turnout for the show, but some attendees complained to the Sentinel, saying they didn’t receive a schedule, didn’t know it was general admission seating and weren’t allowed re-entry. Some were upset at having to wait all afternoon for national acts to perform.