- The Washington Times - Monday, July 27, 2015

Rapper Chief Keef’s benefit concert outside of Chicago was shutdown by police minutes after it started after he appeared in the form of a hologram from a remote location.

The 19-year-old rapper had originally intended to have his likeness projected onto a stage in his hometown of Chicago for a “Stop the Killing” benefit gig that would raise money for the families of a fellow musician and a 13-month-old child, both of whom had died during related tragedies that unfolded earlier this month in the Windy City.

The gig was nixed, however, after Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s office called Chief Keef “an unacceptable role model” whose music “promotes violence” and would pose “a significant public safety risk” if the event occurred, even with the rapper appearing remotely.

Chief Keef, whose real name is Keith Cozart, instead elected to move forward with the event, albeit at a secret location that was not revealed to the public until Saturday evening shortly before showtime.

The last-minute announcement failed to deter authorities, however, who stormed the stage of the Hammond, Indiana, venue and shut down the hologram headliner’s performance at the end of Mr. Cozart’s first song.

“The venue went entirely black, the sound was cut, there were no lights. We were in the dark for several minutes,” an attendee at Saturday night’s event told the DNAinfo website. Police then “ran to the stage” before the lights went back on, and police cleared the venue, the concertgoer said.

Authorities had warned the organizers of the event in Hammond that it would be shut down if Mr. Cozart made an appearance, local media reported, but the promoter said he was never actually given an explanation as to why.

“No one ever gave me a reason why they didn’t want the hologram to appear,” Malcolm Jones, the organizer of Craze Fest in Hammond, told The New York Times. “They didn’t have a real reason. They believed that it would start trouble, but the first thing Chief Keef said via hologram was: ‘Chicago, we need to stop the violence. Let our kids live.’ “

“It was for a really good cause, but sometimes the authorities can’t see that,” Mr. Jones said. “They’re not our age.”

Alki David of Hologram USA said in a statement that the concert was entirely legal and that police had “no justification to shut it down besides [their] glaring disregard for the First Amendment right to free speech.”

“Mark my words, if you censor us, you only make us stronger,” he said.

Mr. Cozart’s hologram was broadcast briefly to the venue from a location in California; the rapper has outstanding warrants in Illinois for his arrest related to child support payments and has previously been arrested on drug and gun charges.

“I know nothing about Chief Keef,” Hammond Mayor Thomas McDermott told The New York Times. “All I’d heard was he has a lot of songs about gangs and shooting people — a history that’s anti-cop, pro-gang and pro-drug use. He’s been basically outlawed in Chicago, and we’re not going to let you circumvent Mayor Emanuel by going next door.”

The “Stop the Killing” concert was hosted to raise money for the families of two individuals who suffered fatal injuries within moments of one another on July 11. Police say that 21-year-old Antoine Watkins was fleeing from a shooting in the southside of Chicago that took the life of Marvin Carr, a fellow rapper and friend of Mr. Cozart’s, when his vehicle struck a baby stroller and killed 13-month-old Dillian Harris. Mr. Watkins was soon after arrested and charged with murder and attempting to elude police.

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