Rolling Loud NY will be moving forward with festivities this weekend without the talent from 22GZ, Casanova, Pop Smoke, Sheff G, and Don Q, after the NYPD sent event organizers a letter saying the rappers are connected to “recent acts of violence citywide” and for “public safety concerns”.
“The above-listed performers have been affiliated with recent acts of violence citywide. The New York City Police Department believes if these individuals are allowed to perform, there will be a higher risk of violence,” Assistant Chief Martin Morales wrote. “I look forward to working with you in an effort to keep this event safe.”
Rolling Loud had not released a formal statement on the decision, however, when the weekend festival schedule was posted on Twitter Saturday morning, the performers’ names were omitted. Festival co-founder and owner Tariq Cherif spoke out on Twitter, claiming they “had no choice but to comply” in order to hold the festival in New York again in the future. Cherif also reassured fans that the canceled artists’ booking fees will still be paid and the festival will offer them performance spots in other cities in the future.
A couple of the canceled acts expressed their frustration and confusion online. Don Q, a Bronx native, said he and the other canceled artists “won’t give up.” “I love my city and I never been in any gang activities or never had issues at any of my previous shows. I hope the city will wake up and see that canceling me and my fellow NY artists isn’t the solution,” he wrote. “We just love what we do and want to perform for our fans.”
Casanova, a Brooklyn native, said on Instagram that he “just wants to live” and it’s “unfair and unfortunate” he is not allowed to perform because of what he believes is the stigmatization of his past, which includes time at Rikers Island.
The Rolling Loud Music Festival will host another festival in Los Angeles in December but so far, no word in if the canceled artists from New York will be included in the lineup.