Police Union Ad Angers Organizers of Hip-Hop Concert In Fort Lauderdale

Elizabeth Baier, South Florida Sun-Sentinel, April 14, 2006

“Help, police! I’ve just been robbed!”

“What do you mean you have no cops available!”

The Fort Lauderdale Fraternal Order of Police set that scene in a half-page newspaper ad on Thursday. The ad warns residents will be less protected Saturday night because 45 officers and four sergeants will be working overtime at the So Fly for Spring Break hip-hop concert at Lockhart Stadium.

Concert organizers said the ad, which depicts a blonde woman crying out for help on her cell phone after an armed man steals her purse, stereotypes hip-hop culture and the unruly behavior sometimes associated with it.

“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,” said Kandice James, CEO of Sweet Productions, the concert promoter. “We’re being road blocked because it’s an African-American event, not just because it’s a hip-hop event.”

FOP President Jack Lokeinsky said the advertisement has no racial undertones and does not seek to disparage the hip-hop and rap concert. The union simply wants city residents to know that officers are required to work the concert over Easter weekend, he said.

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An A-list of Southern hip-hop and rap artists are expected to perform at the concert, including Mike Jones, Dem Franchize Boyz and Three 6 Mafia, the Memphis, Tenn. rap group that won an Oscar in March for best original song: It’s Hard Out Here For a Pimp. More than 10,000 fans are expected to attend the concert, which also will include reggae acts, James said.

In the ad published in the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, the FOP also said the event will cost Fort Lauderdale taxpayers more than $20,000 in overtime expenditures “with no guarantee of reimbursement from the event promoter.”

James said she will reimburse the city $50 an hour per officer for all overtime costs.

Meanwhile, 103.5-FM The Beat is giving the concert heavy promotion, hyping it as the biggest hip-hop and reggae show in South Florida. The station has been giving away tickets to the show, which its night-drive DJ Papa Keith will host. Listeners have not complained about the newspaper ad, station officials said.

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