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


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)

(651) 434-9948



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

2 responses to “Official Statement by Organizer of TC Hip Hop Awards

  1. I havn’t missed a single TC Hip Hop Award show. Every year so far has been a great expiriece, including this year. I hope that the show will continue again and wilh greater popularity each time. Depth and HighSociety have worked hard and it shows! With continued support from the hip hop community Minnesota can finally gain the recognition it needs. There is a lot of talent here!

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