180 Day Pulaski County Music Restriction Proposal Fails To Gain Support

Jul 12, 2017

The Pulaski County Quorum Court meets in a building on South Broadway.
Credit Google Earth

A push in Pulaski County to temporarily bar certain musical performances if a city deemed its content to encourage violence fell flat in a Quorum Court meeting Tuesday night. Justice of the Peace Judy Green of central Little Rock believes going to certain rap concerts can encourage people to be violent. The proposal was a response to the shootout at Power Ultra Lounge earlier this month. 

The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reports the majority of the Quorum Court found the idea contrary to the First Amendment. A slew of musicians of all genres and club operators either spoke against the proposal or submitted written statements as well.

"Those solutions should include addressing the deep-seated issues at the root of Little Rock's spate of gun deaths, said Little Rock hip-hop artist Sean West, who performs as SeanFresh, adding that black boys are often growing up without fathers and that more black men are in prisons than in colleges.

"What they're rapping about is what they see in their community. So you got to see why they're rapping about it. ... The reason they have so many details and know what they're talking about is that they're actually living that life," West said. "Most people are rapping about their surroundings, so they shouldn't change the music; they should change the surroundings.""

The newspaper notes the mayors of Jacksonville and Sherwood favored the proposal before the JP's. It quotes Little Rock City Attorney Tom Carpenter criticizing the idea of limiting live music with violent motifs saying, “Maybe we don’t like gangs so we shouldn’t allow anyone to perform Romeo and Juliet."

The resolution was ultimately amended to strike all language referencing a 180 day moratorium on music that encourages violence. Instead it urges for cities to facilitate discourse and engage with communities to address violence.