Hip-hop injustice in the city of Berkeley, CA

Posted October 1, 2007 2:51 am (about 4501 days ago)

I haven't had a chance to investigate this story but it's been circulating around, including via the Hip Hop Congress, which is where I got it from. Does anyone have any updates?

From: <>
Date: Sep 26, 2007 10:37 AM

Hip-Hop @ the Alehouse '07 has been cancelled but we need the Hip-Hop community's support. PLEASE READ ON….

Update....Thanks for all the support out there. Our girl Ariana from the Mayor's office is on top of the issue.

After the Berkeley Police found out this was a Hip-Hop event we were on a path of being shut down.

First, we needed permission from the police department for the license for non-profit to serve beer. That is right ALL beer sales were going to a non-profit. You can only apply 10 days before the event. This is where we hit a brick wall. We talk to LT. Dennis Ahern (510.773.7664) a number of times to inform him of the positive motives we had. We ensured him this event was to be a place where people from the Hip-Hop community, 21 and up united in a very positive manner. In the end he denied us. His first reason was an under staffed department. We offered more security. Then, it
was told to us that it didn't matter how many security guards we had they wouldn't approve "this type" of event.

Then, we were making arrangements to continue with the event without the non-profit beer sales. This would mean that beer would be served inside and none outside. This was not a big issue but it did hurt our vision of helping the community.

Then, Pyramid received calls from multiple "off duty" police officers who made suggestions that our noise permit will be revoked and that they would not recommend going forward with "this type" of event. Baffled, Jeffery (the GM from Pyramid), asked why this would be the case since he had rock event and what not with no problems at this location before. He was told that they don't want "this type" of event in the city.

All of us made a decision to cancel the event not because we wanted to give in to this strong arm tactics but because we did not want to have an event that people spent money on knowing that there is a 90% chance it was going to be shut down. We are all on losing money but we feel it is better to be ethical than having this event with the knowledge it will be shut down.

We are more than disappointed; we are horrified that this is taken place in a wonderful city like Berkeley. I am reaching out to all of you, The Hip-Hop Community; we can't stand still while this happens. We had nothing but positive aspirations for this event and were pushed down. The Hip-Hop community needs to stand up by writing and calling to whoever will listen. This is discrimination flat out.

Please write and call the Mayor's office to inform him of the
discrimination happening in the city of Berkeley.

Mayor's Office
2180 Milvia Street, Berkeley, CA 94704
TEL: (510) 981-7100, FAX: (510) 981-7199, TDD: (510) 981-6903
Office Hours: Mon-Fri 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Email:

If you want copy and paste the email below and send it to

Dear Honorable Mayor Bates,
Please be aware of the discrimination happening in the city of Berkeley. A  positive event was going to take place on Saturday the 29th at Pyramid Brewery. This event featured Hip-Hop artists. This event has been cancelled due to police suggestions that this event will be shut down and that they do not want "this type" of event in their city. I encourage your office to look further into the matter.

Thank you,
Sarah Harris
Interim Director
Hip Hop Congress Women's Project

Educational Assistant/
4th Grade After School Teacher
Berkeley Maynard Academy
6200 San Pablo Ave.
Oakland, CA 94608


1. Mike said at May 9, 2008 5:08 am:


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