Story at a glance:

  • Pharrell Williams is pulling out of his music festival in Virginia Beach after a police officer shot his cousin earlier this year.
  • In 2019, the festival generated more than $24 million for the city.
  • The father of the cousin has filed a $50m wrongful death lawsuit.

 

Pharrell Williams has canceled his hometown music festival, citing “toxic energy” in the Virginia town city where his cousin was shot by police earlier this year. 

Something in the Water festival in Virginia Beach was cleared to reopen in 2022 by city leaders. Williams indicated in September that he was not going to bring the festival back, and wrote to officials that he was disappointed in how the city responded to his cousin’s death, The Virginia Pilot reported. 

“When we did the festival, it was to ease racial tension, to unify the region, bring about economic development opportunities … I love my city, but for far too long it has been run by – and – with toxic energy,” Williams wrote in a letter to city manager Patrick Duhaney, according to Rolling Out.


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The festival in 2019 raked in more than $24 million for the city, and a 2022 festival is expected to be worth a lot more, The Guardian reports.

A Virginia police officer fatally shot Williams’ cousin, 25-year-old Donovan Lynch, and Deshayla Harris, and injured eight others, according to The Guardian. The two officers on the scene did not have their body cameras on. 

In June, Lynch’s father filed a $50m wrongful death lawsuit.

The city said Lynch pointed a gun at the officer and the officer reportedly “feared for his life and the lives of other officers and citizens in the vicinity,” the city said according to The Guardian. 

“I wish the same energy I’ve felt from Virginia Beach leadership upon losing the festival would have been similarly channeled following the loss of my relative’s life,” Williams wrote in the letter.


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Published on Oct 08, 2021