Wale, Artscape and the curse words
I'm late to the dance on this issue, but that's only because I can't believe it's gone on like this.
During Washington rapper Wale's performance at Artscape, the rapper -- and possibly members of his entourage -- dropped some curse words, according to the local news site Investigative Voice.
The Baltimore Office of Promotion and the Arts, who had told Wale this was a family-oriented show before his set, was shocked and appalled, and pursued legal action.
Unfortunately, since they paid him in advance, there was nothing they could do, according to this piece by Sun reporter Julie Scharper.
Now that it's all said and done, I'd like to add my 50 cents to the mini-scandal ...
First off, this shouldn't have been a scandal in the first place. I can't believe this is the first time anyone ever cursed at Artscape, as BOPA executive director Bill Gilmore claims in Julie's piece. That's ludacris. It's probably just the first time the press noted it and people complained about it.
If BOPA was so concerned about curse words at Artscape, they shouldn't have booked a rapper like Wale to play it. Go for Will Smith or LL Cool J. With Wale, you pretty much know what you're getting, and it's not 100 percent family friendly. He's not dropping f-bombs right and left, but he's not Mr. Clean either.
While were talking "family friendly" performances, let's not forget Dru Hill doing "Thong Song" in 2008, or Robin Thicke's sexually charged live show from last year. Granted, they're not cursing up a storm, but their music isn't G-rated either.
To me, this seems like one of those cases where nothing would have happened if Investigative Voice hadn't dug up the story in the first place. Since the press grabbed it and ran with it, BOPA felt like they had to do something. But in the end, there was nothing they could do anyway, except never book Wale or anyone like him at Artscape again. To me, that seems a little silly.
(Photo of Wale performing at the 2009 Virgin Mobile FreeFest by Getty Images)