Official Statement by Organizer of TC Hip Hop Awards

The 4th Annual TC (Twin Cities) Hip Hop Awards, organized by David “DEPth” Powell of High Society Ink, took place on Friday, January 22, 2010 at historic First Avenue in Minneapolis, MN.

The award show was likely on its way to selling out for the 4th (FOURTH) straight year when it was ended early by venue staff after a physical altercation on the stage.

  • The fight had nothing to do with Hip Hop
  • The reconciliation between the 2 men involved, just 48 hours after, had everything to do with Hip Hop (and the spirit of community at the core of the culture)
  • There were no serious injuries
  • There were no Arrests made or Police Reports filed

MINNEAPOLIS, Jan 26 (TheTCHipHopAwards.com)

The Twin Cities Hip Hop Awards take pride in our legacy of uniting the Twin Cities Hip Hop community and shining a light on underserved segments of the Minnesota music community at large. Everyone involved with the event from the performing artists, to volunteers and award presenters, performed their jobs impeccably.

The goal of the TC Hip Hop Awards is to recognize the efforts of Minnesota-based Hip Hop and R&B artists.  2010 marked the 4th year of the event and awards were given for work done in 2009.  Each of the last three award shows have been a major success.  The TCHHAs reinvest proceeds each year so the event can be a more effective resource for the nominees (many of whom invest countless hours and innumerable resources to improve themselves).

High Society, Ink. does not condone violent behavior and readily concedes that the situation should have been handled differently.  The TCHHA accepts responsibility for our role in the incident, as we do for all of our successes and failures, but doesn’t believe in the efficacy of pointing fingers.  Laying the blame will not do anything to move anyone forward.

The two men involved in the incident that led to the Awards Show being cut short have been in contact with each other and worked out all of their differences.

Jae Estate, the man who initiated the physical altercation, is not a member of the TCHHA planning committee nor does he represent any facet of the event’s production.  Without condoning or condemning anyone, we stand by our event host Boima, and look forward to having him back next year.  They both made a mistake and we accept their apologies.  Although event hosts are capable of mediating the pace of a given event, they are not solely responsible for it.  It is a team effort that falls on the shoulders of the event organizers with a crucial need for strong support from the venue staff.  That said, we feel strongly that the show could have continued if the crowd did not get involved.  That is where we ask the Hip Hop community to accept their responsibility and plead with them to continue the dialog that they have begun in earnest.  Again, we are not laying blame, we are trying to lead by example and accept responsibility where it is appropriate.  We encourage others to do so as well.

It is critical to know these types of incidents are not normal for the TC Hip Hop Awards or any other Hip Hop event for that matter.  Violence at Hip Hop events is extremely rare and infrequent, especially in Minnesota.  We are eternally cognizant of the dated stereotypes that continue to plague the Hip Hop community at large and we apologize if this incident fanned the flames of hatred.  Fortunately, an overwhelming majority of mentions online, minus the altercation, reflect an extremely positive attendee experience.  There was a significant and heartfelt showing of disappointment that the show ended early.  People were enjoying themselves thoroughly while the event was live.

Any absence in the press, unfortunately until now, of the Twin Cities Hip Hop Awards and the artists that populate its list of nominees, may say more about the state of flux in the distribution of information between New Media and Old Media, than any event promoter’s ability to communicate effectively.

We are grateful for the renewed interest in the Awards Show and extend the already standing invitation to all media outlets to attend next year’s award show with full access to the event planning and nomination process.  But even without support, what is considered by some to be an invisible segment of the music community, has been attending, participating in, and selling out the awards show every year for four years – all without a major contribution by the mainstream media.

From country music bars, to rock and roll concerts, scuffles happen every day at events around the world.  Most of them are successfully diffused by security and the events are allowed to continue, but because we worked so closely with First Avenue management and staff throughout this process, we understand why they chose to end the show when they did.

That said, we at the TC Hip Hop Awards consider ourselves optimists, and would like to encourage you to acknowledge the positive elements when you are examining the negative elements.  This altercation opened a dialog within the Hip Hop Community.  It was very unfortunate and a huge disappointment to many people but it was not a disaster.  There were no serious injuries at the TC Hip Hop Awards and everyone made it home safely.

The management at First Avenue is incredible.  They have succeeded in keeping the venue open for many years by constantly partnering with only the most professional and effective promoters.

Although we are aware that the conduct of individuals at our event invited the ensuing criticism, we will vigorously defend our decision-making process and reputation by making ourselves available to answer your questions.

Thank you,

DEPth of the Twin Cities Hip Hop Awards

Press Contact:

David “DEPth” Powell

TCHHA (Founder)

DEPth_yo@yahoo.com

(651) 434-9948

VIDEO #1:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AzeyKrDjb6A&

VIDEO #2:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hhUZW1_DTMU&

The Videos Show:

  • Boima Freeman repeatedly calling for security
  • DEPth speaking calmly to Jae Estate before anything went down
  • People from the crowd jumping on stage

The Twin Cities Hip Hop Awards

The 4th Annual TC (Twin Cities) Hip Hop Awards were organized by David “DEPth Boy” Powell of High Society, Ink. and took place on Friday, January 22, 2010 at Historic First Avenue in Minneapolis, MN.

My name is Larry Lucio, Jr. and Amplified Life is my consultancy. I have been active in my commmunity as an artist, organizer, event promoter, student, educator, activist, and consultant for more than 10 years. I volunteered to assist with stage management at the TC Hip Hop Awards so I happened to be on stage (and therefore standing directly behind the individuals involved) during the incident.

I have decided to share what I witnessed from my perspective for the sake of public record only. I have accepted no funds or other compensation for my humble contribution to the Awards Shows or my coverage on AmplifiedLife.com

The following is a recap of the ensuing incident from my perspective. I have included the works of others to assist in presenting the true scope of what occurred.

Peace,

Larry Lucio, Jr. of Amplified Life

* 7th UPDATE BEGINS… * (as of 01/26/2010 @ 6:33pm CST)

Chris Riemenschneider of the Star Tribune wrote a great recap about the progress thus far, made behind the scenes, by the parties involved in the TC Hip Hop Awards incident.

You can see the post here: http://www.startribune.com/blogs/82733712.html

* …7th UPDATE CONCLUDES. *

2nd Star Tribune Article by Chris Riemenschneider

* 6th UPATE BEGINGS… * (as of 01/25/2010 @ 10:30pm CST)

DEPth, the founder of the TCHHA, has got his own update and recap in the form of a Podcast, here: Lokal Celebrities Radio Show

Personally, I advise you to get the Podcast from iTunes for a nice, integrated experience, where you can subscribe for free automatic updates. Here is the link: http://itunes.apple.com/WebObjects/MZStore.woa/wa/viewPodcast?id=321822255

* …6th UPDATE CONCLUDES. *

* 5th UPDATE BEGINS… * (as of 01/25/2010 @ 8:00am CST)

The City Pages released a bit of a wrap up this morning. They too quoted this recap but went a step further and collected comments from Boima, DEPth, and FranzDiego.

It’s a well written article by Andrea Swensson. You can click on the image to open a legible screen grab of the page or read the article for yourself on CityPages.com by clicking here: http://blogs.citypages.com/gimmenoise/2010/01/tc_hip-hop_awar.php * …5th UPDATE CONCLUDES. *

City Pages Article about TCHHA by Andrea Swensson

* 4th UPDATE BEGINS… * (as of 01/24/2010)

Somebody posted another video on YouTube. This one is a lot longer and a little more clear since it was taken from the stage.

NOTE: I didn’t shoot any footage of the fight. All of the content, starting with the first update, was provided by visitors to AmplifiedLife.com or culled from the web. The TCHHA is not my event. I’m just reporting because nobody else was able to do it by the time rumors started flying. Also, I’m friends with DEPth so I volunteered to be the stage manager. I’ve been contributing to the Hip Hop community for over 10 years. What I do, I do for my community. So if you have any negativity coming my way, think twice because you’re wasting your time. I don’t get down like that. I’m a businessman. Check my record. Ask around. I’m not the one. * …4th UPDATE CONCLUDES. *

* 3rd UPDATE BEGINS… * I spoke to DEPth and he will be releasing THE OFFICIAL statement and response from The TC Hip Hop Awards here on AmplifiedLife.com by Monday, January 25, 2010. Don’t believe what you read elsewhere until you hear what the man himself has to say. If you have any questions for DEPth & the TC Hip Hop Awards, please feel free to leave them in the comments section and I will pass along any appropriate (as deemed by me) questions. * …3rd UPDATE CONCLUDES. *

* 2nd UPDATE BEGINS… * Chris Riemenschneider of the Star Tribune (MN’s largest Newspaper and one of the top 20 largest newspapers in the nation with a readership of 1.3 MILLION weekly) quoted my recap in his blog coverage. You can see the post here: http://www.startribune.com/blogs/82518302.html *…2nd UPDATE CONCLUDES. *

* 1st UPDATE BEGINS… * I believe KNOW AmplifiedLife.com was the first place, anywhere, to get video of the incident. For credit to be given where it is deserved, I have to extend I’ll start by reiterating a HUGE THANK YOU to username: Billy Blanks (aka YouTube username: TheWhoa911) for providing me a link to the very first video documenting the fight (other clips may exist but as of 01/24/2010, they are NOT online).

I’m pretty sure I also KNOW I was the first to write about it publicly because I stayed up ALL of Friday night and spent 6 hours uploading & editing things right after the event (until 5AM). FranzDiego.com also made a great statement via Facebook Saturday afternoon which got picked up and shared around the net. Now I know the story is going to be picked up by other bloggers but if a writer with the stature of Chris Riemenschneider can give Amplified Life credit in the Star Tribune for being out front, bloggers can too. It’s just ethical. Don’t post the info I spent hours collecting like you didn’t read it here.

First let me warn you that the imagery in the video is very violent. I also need to apologize for the racial epithets being hurled about by the people captured in the video. I know many of us refuse to ever say these words period, and therefore it pains me to bring it to your eardrums. I thought twice about approving this because it just suddenly appeared in the comments section at AmplifiedLife.com, and we don’t condone this stuff. We work with youth and it sends the wrong message. But there is way too much hype surrounding this thing… So before it gets any further out of hand, I wanted to use my platform for some good and share it with the community. Now, you can see that nobody but DEPth (who tried to calm the other guy) thought Boima was for real. Everyone, except for DEPth, just stood there watching him as if nothing was wrong. Me too (even though I didn’t get involved). I’m in the middle near the DJ table wearing the fedora and you can see me right in the middle of those two before stuff hit the fan. Decide for yourself…

Peace,

Larry Lucio, Jr. of AmplifiedLife.com

* …1st UPDATE CONCLUDES. *

ORIGINALLY POSTED at 5:18AM CST on Saturday, January 23, 2010 by Larry Lucio

I had casually been consulting with DEPth on the TC Hip Hop Awards Show since BEFORE the first one back in 2006. At the time, we were having success with the Twin Cities Celebration of Hip Hop so I was eager to share the lessons I had been learning. DEPth and I had talked about me stage managing since 2006 but I never had the chance to really do it because I was out of town or committed elsewhere.

For the record, I only signed on to Stage Manage the Twin Cities Hip Hop Awards in an official capacity, the day before the event… That’s how these things go sometimes. You either roll with it or not. I chose to roll with it and I stand by that decision.

Conrad's (First Avenue's Stage Manager) Clock

Time is money. And although tonight got off to a rough start in that regard, by the time of the “incident heard around the twitterverse”, we actually managed to be AHEAD of schedule. That’s right… Things were going VERY WELL before it was ruined for a lot of people, by a few bad people, making a few bad decisions.

We were forced to start the event a little late because several presenters failed to show up. I hope they were safe, considering the weather was bad, but if they flaked out then that’s just uncool. I spent my entire night from that point on doing math (literally) and trying to take corrective action to keep the event from derailing and getting too far behind schedule to finish it right, the way DEPth wanted it done.

Luckily Toki Wright graciously bailed the first presenter out & filled in for us. Even I (Larry Lucio) got up there with my clipboard and did one. Actually… I think I did two awards. I think… I know I gave the Best Radio Show Award to Peter Parker as scheduled but I think I was out there for something else too. It’s all a blur. I’ll have to get some video. I was so stressed I can’t even remember what I did with any accuracy.

This year I was determined to pitch in and be present. So that’s what I did. I got there before doors opened and quickly started “making the rounds”. I saw a handful of the homies, and then made my way backstage to start dealing with the flood of people trying to get past security and “hang out” near the performers.

When the incident broke out, I had my head down, staring blankly at FranzDiego.com’s iPod. We had JUST plugged in a cable and were waiting for Boima to finish killing time so Illuminous 3 could take the stage. All of a sudden, I heard Boima’s voice get louder and louder. He was yelling to anyone who would listen to “get this —– off the stage”. Now if you had been watching Boima all night, you would not have been able to discern whether or not he was serious or joking. Apparently he was serious. Dead serious.

Then a fight broke out. Boima and this other dude started throwing blows. I took a few steps back. Then other people rushed the stage and knocked my papers over along with the HUGE table they were resting on. Again I stepped back. But the stage was filling up…. FAST.

When I saw some dude pick up a bar stool and whip it at my head for NO APPARENT REASON, I knew this was way beyond a man-to-man fight. People were taking the opportunity to act a fool. Luckily I dodged the bar stool like George Bush dodged that shoe. Mostly I was just trying to make sure FranzDiego.com’s iPod was safe. Amidst all the chaos, focusing on that small responsibilitiy kept me focused and professional. At the incident’s peak of insanity, I was holed up in Greg’s mic control area, perched high above the stage-left entrance. It occurred to me that I should take my camera out and film this whole thing, but I couldn’t bring myself to stoop that low while such a horrible thing was happneing. But I’ll say this, I hope someone did film it so we can see how that situation escalated, from a simple bit of arguing, to a full fleged BRAWL… on the stage… at Historic First Avenue.

Damn...

The Newly Renovated Dressing Room at First Avenue (note: things were peaceful at this point)

Lastly, I’ll say that I will stand by DEPth. At least until this thing gets addressed and the details get fleshed out. He wasn’t in the fight. He didn’t throw a single blow. It was not his fault. At least no more than anyone else who was in attendance.

Peace,

Larry Lucio, Jr. of Amplified Life