City won't press action against profane Artscape act

Official: Not possible to revoke payment to rapper Wale

July 27, 2010|By Julie Scharper, The Baltimore Sun

The city will not pursue legal action against Wale, the Washington, D.C.-based hip-hop artist who reportedly used profanity and a racial slur while performing at Artscape, the director of the Baltimore Office of Promotion & the Arts said Monday.

Organizers were shocked when Wale used offensive language during his performance, said Bill Gilmore, BOPA 's executive director.

"He is not known to do that kind of performance," said Gilmore. "We were pretty much caught off-guard."

Wale, the son of Nigerian immigrants who settled in Washington, performs rap influenced by go-go music. He played at last year's Virgin Festival at Merriweather Post Pavilion and released his debut album, "Attention Deficit," to critical acclaim in November.

Artscape musicians are cautioned that their acts must be suitable for family audiences, said Gilmore.

"This is the first time this had ever happened" at Artscape, he said.

Performers are paid in advance and it is not possible to reduce or revoke the payment, Gilmore said. The city does not intend to pursue any type of legal action, he said.

"It was unfortunate," Gilmore said. He said BOPA has discussed preventing similar incidents in the future.

"It was a tough lesson and we need to move on," he said.

Wale was enthusiastic about the show, writing on his Twitter account immediately after: "Ok, that was like top 10 shows ever! Bmore I love yall!"

But his tone changed as city officials began to express their consternation.

"I keep hearing stuff bout me cursing at the artscape," he wrote last week in a follow-up Tweet. "Like I'm banned from there."

julie.scharper@baltsun.com

twitter.com/juliemore

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