The second annual Vibe Awards turned ugly Monday night after Dr. Dre was attacked, the G-Unit got involved in a brawl, and a man was stabbed.
The evening started off on a high note, with several performers from the hip-hop community taking the stage, yet there was still some tension in the air.
“Suge [Knight] was there, you had a few other characters that were there from Los Angeles, Snoop was there, Dre was there, Game was there,” said Jimmy Henchman, the show’s co-executive producer and manager of such artists as Guerilla Black and Mario Winans. “Some people felt a little uncomfortable, people who knew the history.”
According to several eyewitness accounts, about three-quarters of the way into the program Snoop Dogg and Quincy Jones were onstage getting ready to present Dr. Dre with the Vibe Legend Award when the legendary production impresario was attacked near the stage. Witnesses said Dre was standing next to his wife when a man approached him, asking him for an autograph.
“Dre, being the gentleman he is, was about to sign the autograph when the guy punched him,” Henchman said. “It was nothing, though. Dre handled him. Dre grabbed the dude and handled him. You could tell somebody put a battery in the kid’s back to do what he did. He jumped out there.”
On “TRL” Tuesday, Eminem talked about the incident, saying that “Dre is OK. He’s fine. It was stupid.”
As Dre started to defend himself by swinging back, bodyguards and people with the G-Unit jumped in to protect him and things quickly got out of control.
MTV has obtained footage of some of the brawl, and it shows Jones and Snoop onstage while the fighting ensues. Jones is on the mic telling people that they “messed up my rap” and later vents in disgust, “I can’t believe this.” On the floor — although they are not seen throwing punches — 50 Cent and Lloyd Banks are in the middle of the fray. Several men who appear to be with them have their attention directed toward two other men. One of the men is extremely husky and is holding the considerably smaller man in his arms to protect him. The smaller man is visibly frightened and holding onto the leg of a police officer who is standing onstage. Meanwhile, the men who appeared to be with the G-Unit were throwing chairs and punches, and police sprayed mace into the whirlwind of people. The fight spilled behind a black curtain to the backstage area of the awards show, which was held in the Barker Hangar at Santa Monica Municipal Airport.
Santa Monica police said one man — whom they identified only as being a 26-year-old from Los Angeles — was stabbed during the incident. He was taken to a hospital and is listed in stable condition. The only description they give of the suspect was that he was a black male wearing a white T-shirt. Police are scheduled to hold a press conference regarding the incident Tuesday evening.
“Thank God nothing more serious happened to Dre,” Henchman said. “It hurts us, hurts hip-hop, hurts the whole experience. It’s just a shame that there is no real forum for us to enjoy ourselves. You had the [American Music Awards] one night prior that went eventless, then you had the Vibe Awards. When they punched Dre, they punched the whole industry in the face. Then all of us got in the back of our minds the memories of what happened in L.A. with Biggie. That doesn’t leave us. We’re reminded of this sh–, especially when we’re at an event. It kind put a black eye on the hip-hop community. It makes us not even want to come out.”
A spokesperson for the G-Unit and Dr. Dre had no comment on the matter, but Vibe President Kenard Gibbs released a statement Tuesday afternoon, saying, “We are deeply saddened by the incident that occurred last night. It is unfortunate that an event so many people worked very hard to create has been tainted by the actions of a few individuals. The Vibe Awards and Vibe magazine represent the best of urban culture and they will continue to do so. It is a testament to the true vision of the Vibe Awards that the magnificent talent and staff continued on to create a fantastic show.”
After the situation calmed down — between 10 and 25 minutes later — the ceremony continued. Dr. Dre picked up his award and told the crowd he wouldn’t let incidents like that one slow him down. Later, the audience was treated to a performance of “Drop It Like It’s Hot” by Snoop with Pharrell Williams. Jadakiss also performed and was joined by Anthony Hamilton and Common.
“It’s kind of like if you give in to terrorism,” Henchman said about talk of not continuing with the program. “Don’t get deterred. You kind of have to keep up your spirits even though [the man] tried to f— it up. We just continued.”
The Vibe Awards are scheduled to air Tuesday at 8 p.m. on UPN.
[This story was updated on 11.16.04 at 6:09 p.m. ET.]