Zinzi Tries To Help Snoop Out Of Jail

Even the help of Nelson Mandela’s daughter Zinzi wasn’t enough to get U.S. rapper Snoop Dogg out of a London police station in time to play the April 27th People’s Celebration Concert in Johannesburg, South Africa.

“I think they sent a letter but I do not have the details,” Big Concerts‘ Lara Cohen told local media after Snoop and five of his bodyguards had been arrested at Heathrow Airport after allegedly hurling bottles of whiskey and arguing with staff.

British media reports said the group started smashing whiskey bottles on the floor of a duty-free shop after they were refused entry to British Airways First Class lounge.

The incident ended with a punch-up with the airport police and a “mini-riot,” according to a couple of the U.K. tabloids.

William Morris agent Brent Smith offered a decidedly different view of the incident.

“I was personally with Snoop when this happened but can’t officially comment because this is a current legal matter,” Smith told Pollstar. “I can however say that media accounts of the event are a complete joke. The good news is there were video cameras everywhere and the truth will be told soon enough.”

Snoop and his entourage were released within hours, but not in time to make the show at the 40,000-capacity Johannesburg Stadium. The audience was left to settle for a supporting bill that included Sean Paul, Pharrel Williams, Mario, Jamali, Zola, and Hip-Hop Pantsula.

Getting the word out on time and offering full refunds immediately, Big Concerts owner Attie van Wyk was delighted that 32,000 still showed up for the 10 hours of entertainment that was still offered.

“We took a loss on it, particularly as we had to schedule another Johannesburg show, but Attie felt it was important to keep the audience happy,” said Big Concerts’ Michael Anetakis, after the company had managed to schedule a May 3rd show in the same stadium.

“We’re expecting about 15,000 tonight,” he told Pollstar, following an announcement that un-refunded tickets for the original show were still valid and that anyone who attended the first could return – provided they still had the stub for April 27th.

Once the The Big Boss Dogg, as Snoop now likes to be called, eventually arrived in South Africa, he played shows at Durban ABSA Arena April 29th and Cape Town Greenpoint Stadium on May 1st.

“We have a few more grey hairs but it looks as if it will all happen in the end,” Anetakis said on the morning of the re-scheduled May 3rd Johannesburg show.

As for Zinzi’s efforts? “When we heard Snoop Dog was being held at Heathrow, I think Attie called everyone he knew who might be able to help get him here,” Anetakis explained.

Although a spokesman for South Africa’s Department of Foreign Affairs confirmed that it had been approached to help get Snoop released, Anetakis is playing down any behind-the-scenes moves that might have hurried things up.

“My information is that ultimately there were no charges laid against him. He has now been released and is on his way,” he told the daily Cape Argus April 28.

– John Gammon