For the better part of its existence over the past year and a half, the Power & Light District has caught plenty of flack over its dress code – specifically for admission into the “KC Live!” area, which houses the district’s performance stage and loop of restaurants/bars. The dress code, instituted in June 2008, put a ban on such items as oversized t-shirts, baggy pants, work boots, athletic jerseys, bandanas, shorts that fall below the knees, and other related items. General consensus is that the code seems aimed towards the urban crowd – black males, specifically), and is not equally enforced across the board (for the record, I myself have been in the KC Live! area with shorts that hang below my knees, and have never been approached about it).
If there was anything that the Cordish Company did NOT need looming over their entertainment area’s reputation, was further undertones of racism. On Saturday, June 6th, that is exactly what happened. DJ/producer, and a 25-year icon in the hip-hop world, Jeff Townes – better known as DJ Jazzy Jeff, was scheduled to perform a set at the KC Live! stage. His partner on the tour, DJ Z-Trip, had his set go off without incident. Jeff managed to get about 20 minutes into his set, according to those present, when the show stopped abruptly.
The general report is that his set was “too hip-hop”, and that he had specifically been asked to perform Top-40 music. Apparently those in charge of making decisions failed to realize that current Top-40 consists of a LOT of hip-hop. Was he supposed to perform nothing but Lily Allen and Miley Cyrus tunes? The report from the Cordish side of the battle is that Jeff was exceeding performance levels of the P&L District’s sound system, and that he had been asked on several occasions to cut his levels back. Personally, I call shenanigans on this due to the reasonable understanding that a sound system that has been credited at upwards of $500K in value should have had equipment within itself to establish output limits.
I don’t want anybody to reach full conclusions based solely on my opinions of the incident, so below you will find links to multiple reports and blogs of the incident that were published prior to this writing. The fact remains that, until further notice (aka when the Cordish Company can get their you-know-what together), you will not find me at the P&L District. Consider it a boycott.