Controversial Epitaph hip hop artist Boots Riley of The Coup has been charged for using "abusive language" during his performance at the Bayou Boogaloo & Cajun Food Festival. Boots claims that the charges are politically motivated, noting that the law has never been applied in this context:
City Officials claim that they are making the statement that profanity will not be tolerated. Obviously, since no one has been charged with this in 26 years, profanity IS tolerated. The statement they are making is that the culture and the people they feel I represent won't be tolerated. I was already off stage; the man they asked to leave the stage was Trombone Shorty, another Black man who looks nothing like me. This happened at 10:00PM
I stayed and debated the validity of the charge with police and festival promoters. It is clear that this is part of a larger debate that has nothing to do with profanity, one that is being dealt with nationwide. That debate is about racism, gentrification and the ownership of public space.
Riley claims the charges were racially motivated as they are part of a backlash from the recent Afr'Am Festival in Norfolk in which Gospel and R&B performances generated "noise complaints," despite the performers adhering to the same decibel parameters as all of Norfolk's other festivals. The Afr'am fest has been the subject of controversy since.