FAMU Fallout

A homecoming concert fiasco at Florida A&M University continues to generate fallout two weeks after a handful of mostly rap artists took the stage Oct. 24 despite a high-profile artist cancellation, arrest of a promoter and a campus radio station “gag order” against talking about it.

In the end, the concert – which was originally to headline legally challenged rapper Gucci Mane – is about the closest thing to a textbook lesson in how not to promote a college event.

Mane canceled his headlining appearance at the Florida university, as well as a similar concert at North Carolina A&T in Greensboro, because legal trouble is reportedly preventing him from traveling outside of Georgia.

Neither the Tallahassee concert’s promoter, Willie McKenzie of Double Trouble Entertainment, nor campus administrators were willing to talk about the FAMU show to local media after the event, so the Tallahassee Democrat reviewed the record that was publicly available.

McKenzie, who was arrested and charged with trespassing after he allegedly stormed the on-campus radio station in search of a DJ who angered him, was awarded $150,000 from the university’s activities and services fees – paid by students – to cover the cost of the event.

Contracts on file account for only about $98,000, according to the paper, which noted that contracts for nine entertainers were not in the university’s files – including those for Plies, Ace Hood and Young Cash.

It did report that Head Coach Entertainment negotiated contracts on behalf of performers Ice Berg, Webbie, Lil Phat, Swazy Baby, Bigga Rankin and Hurricane Cris, who were to be paid fees ranging from $2,500 to $7,500.

Pop artist Monica was to receive $16,500 with Head Coach picking up the tab for her flight, hotel accommodations and ground transportation. Included in the university’s records were three wire transfers to The Booking Agency, presumably for deposits covering Monica’s appearance totaling $41,000.

McKenzie reportedly spent $7,200 on T-shirts, $10,082 on other swag including promotional CDs, $4,775 on radio advertising and another $3,240 for advertising via Comcast Cable.

The university reported 2,888 tickets were sold to the concert, meaning that tickets would have had to cost an average of $52 to cover the cost of its contract with McKenzie and Double Trouble alone.