UMES, Police Say Violence Caused Busta/Jim Jones Concert Cancellation, Not Hip-Hop
Suzanne Street, director of public relations for UMES, said that a Maryland State Police Department intelligence report connected the artists to gang activity and cited recent acts of violent during or after concerts by the artists.
"The decision was made by our Vice President of Administrational Affairs [Dr. Ronnie E. Holden] and the decision was not based on the genre of music [Hip-Hop] or even the artists themselves, but the situations surrounding the artists at this time," Street said. "In talking with Dr. Holden, the University decided this was not the best time to have them on campus. It's not to say [that] they are not welcomed back, but we felt the timing to have these artists was not right."
Rhymes is under investigation by the New York Police Department, who seek to question the rapper about his knowledge of an early morning shooting in Feb. 2006, that took the life of his bodyguard, 29-year-old Israel Ramirez.
Police claim Rhymes, born Trevor Smith, may have witnessed the early morning shooting and accuse the rapper of refusing to cooperate in the ongoing investigation.
Ramirez' family has also been vocal about their displeasure with the rapper's lack of cooperation in Ramirez' murder, which remains unsolved.
In Aug. 2006, Rhymes was accused of assaulting a fan and in Dec. 2006, Rhymes was accused of assaulting a former driver.
Rhymes has pleaded not guilty to and denies the charges levied against him.
Violence has also erupted at various shows featuring Jim Jones and his group, The Diplomats, who frequently boost about their affiliation with the Bloods street gang.
In July 2006, a Juelz Santana concert in Allentown, PA turned violent when fights broke out, causing the rapper to leave without performing for a capacity crowd of about 1,000 people.
In Sept. 2006, a man was shot dead at a Jim Jones concert in Virginia Beach, VA.
Currently, Diplomat Records' CEO Cam'ron is in a heated dispute with Queens, NY rapper 50 Cent. Groups affiliated with both G-Unit and The Diplomats have been trading insults via mixtapes and the internet.
Maryland State Police Department spokesman First Sgt. Russell Newell also said that Hip-Hop music was not the focus of the intelligence report.
"The report that was forwarded was done through our intelligence department," Sgt. Newell said. "We can't comment on the nature of the report, but it was not genre specific and Hip-Hop music was not the focus of the report. Anytime there is a threat or a perceived threat gathered by our intelligence, we furnish that information so a decision can be made in the interest of the public's safety."
UMES's Suzanne Street said that once the student leaders were privy to the intelligence report in a closed door meeting, they agreed that this particular concert should be canceled and rescheduled.
"They are going to have a concert in the spring and the students will offer a list of artists," Street said. "Administration will do their due diligence as usual and the students will have their concert."
UMES started issuing refunds two days ago, mostly to the student population.