[artist id="860639"]50 Cent[/artist] may rub some rappers in New York the wrong way at times, but the Queens-bred artist is generous as any entertainer when it comes to serving his community and fostering a direct relationship with fans.
This weekend was shaping up to be a display of his altruism: On Saturday he’s busing in a number of residents from his former South Jamaica, Queens, neighborhood to New Jersey for a day at Six Flags Great Adventures amusement park, followed by a 50 performance.
But his “40 Day” event, also known as “Family Day,” scheduled for Sunday has hit a major snag and is being postponed indefinitely, MTV News has learned.
The rapper’s representative released this statement to MTV News exclusively regarding the festivities.
“The G-Unity Foundation and New York Restoration Project are deeply saddened and disappointed to learn that the permit for our upcoming Family Day event was not granted by the City,” the statement read. “As a result, Family Day — scheduled for August 30th — has been postponed until further notice.”
The project, sponsored by 50 and actress Bette Midler, drew the ire of the city when authorities discovered the rapper may perform at the event. The New York Post
drummed up controversy around the event, reporting that locals were concerned about violence. The story cited a number of local sources, several of them anonymous, with one person saying “police brass were worried that a rival or punk out to make a name for himself would try to shoot Fitty during the performance.”
The rapper spoke with New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and assured officials he would not be performing. Bloomberg confirmed he talked with 50 and indicated the event would still take place. The two seemed to settle on a compromise that things could proceed if the rapper didn’t perform.
G-Unit rapper Tony Yayo said the event would still take place despite the minor setback when he spoke to MTV News one day after Bloomberg told reporters he met with 50.
“The mayor was saying he spoke to 50 and he agreed that it wouldn’t be a performance. Yo, I can’t get at the mayor,” Yayo said. “I don’t even wanna say anything bad about him — I don’t wanna get pulled over when I leave from outta here! But 50′s big, 50s bigger than life. Rumor is he spent over half a million dollars on this.”
Q-Tip, also a native of the neighborhood, recently rallied behind 50 and attacked Mayor Bloomberg’s administration for having outdated views of New Yorkers. He said the move to strike down 50′s performance hurts kid who may aspire to rise out of their conditions like the rapper has done. He called it a blow to the community’s morale.
“I think that’s a shot to morale,” Tip said. “It’s a shot to somebody’s morale who’s 15 or 16 years old. That’s an impressionable soul who sees 50 Cent, how he’s not able to see him perform. I think the [city's officials] are aware, but they think [50's] performance may cause rabble-rousing, or get people to act out. That’s just an old way of thinking about folk, especially black folk. That’s what it all boils down to, essentially.”
50 Cent announced plans for his first annual 40 Day event last year. He partnered with Midler in November to unveil the Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson Community Garden. During that event he told the crowd about his plans for the summer. “We’re gonna make it happen the way we been making it happen, right here,” he said, referring to Family Day.
For now, though, the plans are on hold. 50′s G-Unity Foundation expressed their disappointment over the news.
“Everyone in the community of Jamaica, Queens, especially the children, were looking forward to once again participating in this fun-filled, family-friendly event which was to promote community pride and provide adults and children alike with quality time together,” they said.