Puerto Rican Day Parade Organizers May Limit Rap

Board member tells New York Times that music attracted potentially unruly youths.

Rap music may be limited at the next National Puerto Rican Day Parade in New York, an event organizer told the New York Times.

This year's parade, on June 11, ended with an incident in which numerous women were groped by packs of men, many of them said by officials to have been parade attendees. Police have charged 30 men with related crimes.

Federico Perez, a board member of the group that runs the parade, was quoted in the Times on Friday (Aug. 4) as saying rap was not responsible for what happened this year but asserting that some rap music had obscene lyrics that attracted potentially unruly youths. He also said some of the music was not consistent with the theme of Hispanic culture.

In the future, he said, "We will prohibit some groups from participating."

Another board member, Carlos Velasquez, told the Times that the group may prohibit obscenities, rather than rappers.

Among the rappers who have participated in recent parades are Fat Joe, Puff Daddy and Flipmode Squad.

Puerto Rican rappers Big Punisher, who died this year, and Fat Joe were accused by police of beating and robbing a man on the day of the 1998 parade, at which they had appeared on a float. The charges were dropped after the victim refused to testify.

This year the parade ran up Fifth Avenue from 44th Street to 86th Street and included floats, some sponsored by Puerto Rican villages and some by corporations. Some include traditional Puerto Rican music, and others feature popular music.

The parade, which began in 1958, is organized by the 18-member board of directors of The National Puerto Rican Day Parade Inc. The organization did not return repeated calls for comment.