Arts Desk

Why Fighting at the DMV Awards Is Tragic for the Scene

What was supposed to have been an evening of celebration for the area's best hip-hop artists instead eroded into violence last night, when five or six fights erupted on the first and second floors of the Crystal City Hyatt Hotel in Arlington County during the fifth annual DMV Music Awards.

Det. Crystal Nosal, a spokesperson for the Arlington County Police Department, said that roughly 1,500 people attended the awards show. Because of the flood of 911 calls, the police department sent all of its cars on the street to the hotel, she said. Five people were taken local hospitals, including a Hyatt buffet worker, who was seen leaving an employee-only lounge holding a towel to his eye. Crystal City Hyatt General Manager Jean-Marc Dizard could not confirm where the worker was hit.

There were no arrests and an investigation is ongoing, Nosal said.

Unfortunately, the actions of a few have now left a black eye on a hip-hop scene still struggling to find its place as a nationally acknowledged music hub. And while the organizers' intentions were good and they aren't to blame for the fights, that doesn't hide the fact that this awards show was unruly from the beginning.

Throughout, artists and other guests seemed more focused on socializing and showing off than respecting what was happening on stage. A near who's who of the DMV lined the walls of the Hyatt ballroom and walked the aisles (do you see that going on at The Grammy's?). Sure, there were 1,500 people there, but you'd never have known it, since so many people floated in and out of the ballroom during the ceremony. Simply put: The entire night was disrespectful.

Then the fights happened. Details are still hazy, but one witness told Arts Desk that he saw "five or six different skirmishes going on," with as many as 15 people beating up on one guy.

"They almost threw one guy over the balcony," said Tim Borland, a U.S. Army veteran staying at the Hyatt for a veterans convention. "It was awful. I would think there is probably some local gangs here who don't like each other."

That's one of my biggest concerns about last night's debacle. Last year's DMV Awards took place at the Hampton Inn Conference Center, in a hard-to-find industrial park in Prince George's County. This year, thanks to organizer Dre All Day and his team, the awards ceremony was held at a posh Hyatt hotel in a relatively ritzy part of the region. When I arrived, the first thing I noticed was a large number of elderly white people in the hotel lobby. But when you think "hip-hop," you think of young black people. To have an epic altercation surrounded by so many whites only reinforces negative stereotypes of African-Americans.

The DMV's music scene doesn't deserve to be relegated to a beat-up industrial park; it truly deserves better surroundings. After last night's incident, however, it's unclear how soon the awards show can bounce back from such a display. Sure, last night's Twitter dispatches offered a mixture of dismay and positive spin, but this debacle will not soon be forgotten, especially when it's time to plan next year's awards show.

Blog Widget by LinkWithin
  • Kasozi

    In Response to @curiousgeorge & anyone else who hold similar opinions as his/her's.

    Hip-Hop is NOT a negative culture, nor has it ever been. For you or anyone else to say that, shows that without doubt YOU do NOT know the history of Hip-Hop let alone the meaning of the word itself.

    Hip-Hop is NOT "Rap". "Rap" is the spoken word of Hip-Hop, but that's for another debate. the point here I'm attempting to make is that Hip-Hop as a culture is not geared or centered towards negativity.

    Within ANY sub-culture in America you will have elements within it who see using physical force as the only means to solve a dispute or disagreement, but it should NEVER be seen as the entire mind-set or attitude of that particular sub-culture.

    I am not excusing the actions at the 2011 DMV Awards, but I am (as a fan and participant within the culture) not going to allow someone to paint the entire culture in a negative light.

  • orlando

    point blank it was'nt about rap why the fight broke out and if you from dc or pg or any hood in the usa you would see from the clip and know that it's a hood issue! they just brought it to the awards show. It has nothing to do with arrogance and rap music! when you go to this award show and it's near or in dc or pg you are going to get hoods that ride for each other that come to these events to support neighborhood talent. They booed each other cuz on the streets they don't like each other and they beefin! regardless if the artist is better or not when it's street beef everything flies out the window!

  • http://www.thinkbrownink.com Natasha

    All, please attend the Time to Build Town Hall Meeting on Sunday, a dialogue about the issues and solutions facing the DMV Music Community and solutions....led by 20 influential power players.

    Register at http://timetobuilddmv.eventbrite.com/

  • Change

    The issues facing the DMV Music Community are related to the same issues facing the DMV Community. If you focus on fixing the problems in the communities then it will reflect on the music that the community creates, supports, and how the artists and fans treat and respect one another. People should be more concerned with solutions on helping those many less fortunate in the community, and be less concerned with music artists. If these artists have talent and want this music life bad enough, and they apply themselves then I don't see why they need the special needs attention, treatment and support that other talented and non talented artists don't get.

    It seems that a lot people feel that if they can't get any immediate notoriety from people that could potentially put money in their pockets or support them in what they are doing, then they don't care to help them. The everyday, non artists, non radio personalities, non djs and non music business people in the DMV area need help, but these everyday people are not already in the position to someday return the (publicity and business) favor to the people behind this so they are not important to them like some of these local artists are.

    From what I have gathered about the DMV Awards and the "unfair" voting and nominating process that have been complained about in the past, the awards are more focused on simply recognizing artists and certain people in the business, and less focused on recognizing actual, respectable talent. What a joke.

    Your Time to Build Town Hall Meeting should be less about the music and more about the people that live in the communities, their lifestyle and what can be done to make it better for them. Why not just have a Million Music March and have discussions about the issues and possible solutions, just to go back to the same way things were once everyone goes home? Everybody gets to feel important again for the day as if their voice and presence has any significant, short term or long term impact on the community as a whole, and then things go back to the same way they have been. When you have greedy, fake, or just people with their own self interests in mind trying to lead or guide others, nothing substantial will be solved.

    It's quite pathetic that DMV has to do all of this just to get themselves and their artists recognized. DMV is a joke. There are far, far more important issues that the DMV could be getting together to discuss solutions for, but instead they have their music industry at the forefront of their minds as if the DMV produces many spectacular artists or great messages to offer the music world, or just their own community. This sounds like another publicity stage and waste of time. I don't care to have 20 influential power players lead me in dialogues about the issues and solutions facing the "DMV MUSIC Community."

  • BBG

    First. I'm African American and I find it really sad that we still have those hateful racist comments I read earlier in the comments. But unlike you and your ignorance I won't make stupid generalizations about other races. If you think similar violence doesn't exist at white events then you are either stupid or once again someone has done a good job of NOT covering it or covering it up.

    Now let me address the other issues.
    First off. HipHop needs to be broken into categories. All HipHop is not the same. You have some meaningful stuff and then you have your hate, I'm a thug, you a itch and everybody is a igga. I consider my women much better than that and would like to see that portion, because not all women allow it, of our ladies to stop teaching and preaching it because if I see you on the street and call you it you have a problem with which contradicts everything no matter how you fake the philosophy behind doing it. The same with the igga word.
    Those backing its use are no better off then the sad people who follow cults and commit suicide over their follower.

    If you/we want respect it begins with me/you. PERIOD!!!!!
    Money is not going to do it though some are foolish to believe it. Ask around. McNabb has plenty do you see him getting respect???????

    Stop seperating yourself from these acts. I hear people claiming it doesn't affect them. What planet are you from? Whatever one of us does unfortunately leaves a stain on us all. Pretend all you want but run that circle will get you no where, if you get my drift.

    Stop pretending you not what you promote. If you promote thug actions then you attract thugs to your events. You basically are selling out, but when something like this comes up you claim it ain't you. Well guess what? IT IS YOU!!! You keep pumping the hate and many times ignorance, not all artist mind you so don't go there, out to feed public perception. Women want respect but the world hear you calling one another itch. Men want respect, but you call one another igga and showing your draws like a prisoner who wants to be done over.

    So who do you HONESTLY think will show up? Just because you promote to other people of all races doesn't mean your thugs you promote will not show up. You SHOULD expect it if you are not stupid. I'm sure many of you are not, but lets be for real. I'm sure this isn't the first time you've had something and tempers flared am I right? As long as you promote thugs you will get thugs and even if you keep them out you are still part of them because your target audience are those that support walking around pretending they so hard rather than making something of themselves.

    Finally... how many of you out of 1500 people have gone to the police to provide information to capture the very people you does not represent you?????????????? HOW MANY?? If you were there and you witnessed and haven't done so then you are NO BETTER than those thugs who screwed up your show.

    You want to seperate yourselves from them then as they say on the street "handle your business".

    All the PR comments in the world will not change the perception now out there. ACTIONS that produce RESULTS will.

    The ball is in your court. Now. What are YOU going to do?

  • BBG

    Preach Change!!!!
    I asked the same question when I read the details of this Town Hall Meeting. I ask now what is really the true purpose and how will they measure their goals????
    I can guarantee you this. They will CONTINUE thug'n. They will continue using the itch and igga words along with cursing with each and every verse. Until THEY are ready for compromise nothing will be accomplished. I'd challenge EVERY LAST artist to produce an album with no use of cursing or igga in their lyrics. Let me change that. Mixtapes is the thing now. How about enough mixtapes that would produce and album that would meet that demand. Just ONCE. After that they can go back and do what they like.

    They need to get a clue and realize if they really want to grow they need to make their music and lyrics more acceptable to a broader audience. Because really with everyone itch this and itch that and I'm a igga and you a igga it all begans to sound so much a like.

    So if they want to walk around like a thug then they can't distance themselves once things really get negative like this awards show.

    "Your Time to Build Town Hall Meeting should be less about the music and more about the people that live in the communities, their lifestyle and what can be done to make it better for them. Why not just have a Million Music March and have discussions about the issues and possible solutions, just to go back to the same way things were once everyone goes home? Everybody gets to feel important again for the day as if their voice and presence has any significant, short term or long term impact on the community as a whole, and then things go back to the same way they have been. When you have greedy, fake, or just people with their own self interests in mind trying to lead or guide others, nothing substantial will be solved.

    "

  • Pingback: Planet Ill » Libyan Lockdown, Peter King Plays McCarthy, Wisconsin Wilding On FuseBox Radio

  • Pingback: Hip-Hop Growing Pains: D.C. to The TC « AmplifiedLife.com

...