City seeks return of festival, Pharrell cites “toxic energy”

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VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (AP) – Virginia Beach executives want Pharrell Williams to bring back his popular Something in the Water festival next year, but the musician is reluctant, saying “toxic energy” has run the city for too long and that he wishes the city took a more proactive stance after a police officer shot dead his cousin.
City leaders have called on the Grammy-winning producer to restore the festival in 2022. In 2019, the festival brought in $ 24 million to the local economy of Hampton Roads. But Williams, who lived there as a child, wrote that he organized the festival to ease racial tensions, and he feels the city does not value his ideas to promote “human rights. for everyone “.
“I wish the same energy that I felt from the leadership in Virginia Beach during the loss of the festival would have been channeled the same way after the loss of my parent’s life,” Williams wrote in response. “I love my city, but for too long it has been run by toxic energy.”
Williams’ cousin, 25, Donovon Lynch, was killed in March on a chaotic night in which 10 people were shot dead in separate incidents. Lynch’s father filed a $ 50 million wrongful death lawsuit in June. In its response, the city said Lynch, who was black, pointed a gun at the officer who shot him. The officer, identified as Solomon D. Simmons III, who is also black, “feared for his life and that of other officers and citizens nearby,” the city said.
“We hope we can have a face to face meeting with Pharrell and go over his concerns and see what we can do to get things back on track,” Mayor Bobby Dyer said. “By meeting each other in person and communicating, I am convinced that we can move in a better direction. It would be better to build these positive bridges. “


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