DJ Jazzy Jeff was kicked off the stage at the Power & Light District in Kansas City, MO on Saturday (June 6).
According to The Kansas City Star, accusation of racism have plagued the venue for a year, despite numerous denials from the officials.
On Saturday night, Jeff was booted off the stage after performing for less than 30 minutes, to which people in the crowd, both black and white, shouted accusations that Power & Light didn’t want him to play Hip Hop music.
The next day, the acclaimed deejay and producer, who brought emcee Skillz with him, spoke on the matter:
“My road manager walked up to me and said they were having problems with the music I was playing,” said Jazzy Jeff. “I played three more songs and he comes back. I knew something was wrong. They said I had to kick Skillz off the stage, change the format of the music I was playing or quit. They said if I continued playing they had 30 cops ready to come escort me offstage. So I stopped.“
Jeff, who played songs by Jay-Z, Biz Markie, Rihanna, and had Skillz hype the crowd up, was interrupted 15 minutes into the set, in the middle of R&B singer Ne-Yo‘s “Miss Independent,” and was told to stop.
Jon Stephens, president of the Power & Light District, denies the accuations of racism or anti-Hip Hop sentiments.
“The issue that arose with the performance last night was completely about the sound levels,” said Stephens. “His audio tech was maxing out the sound system to a point that risked damage to the speakers and sound system. His sound techs and management refused to bring the decibel level down. They were told to bring it down or cease performance. They refused to go on.“
“Obviously we have a desire to book a diversity of acts,” he continued. “We booked Jazzy Jeff on a Saturday night, the biggest night of the week in the district. We were excited to have him there. It’s unfortunate that his sound and management people had problems adhering to the sound and audio rules. We wanted him to play. That’s why we booked him.”
Still, Jazzy Jeff contends that somethign was amiss. He explained that the venue officials though Skillz made “gang-like signs and grabbed at his gentals,” which Jeff dismisses. He also pointed out that Skillz wasn’t even cursing. Venue officials said that the set attracted the wrong kind of element, according to the deejay.
“I‘m in shock,” said Jeff. “I didn’t understand what element they were talking about. I looked out in the crowd and it was multicultural, but about 75 percent white. Everyone was having a great time. I wondered what was so offensive. I never had a race issue. I didn’t know how to feel. I was playing ‘Just a Friend.’ Is that offensive? What element? It’s uncomfortable when you feel unwanted.”