Council Wants Rappers Performing In Philadelphia to Register With Police
Philadelphia is known as the City of Brotherly Love, but all love seems to be lost for the brothers in light of a councilman's attempt to screen rap acts prior to them performing in Philly. Philadelphia councilman Mark Squilla has proposed a bill that will force music venues in the city to provide the full names and addresses of the artists and groups they book for upcoming appearances at the behest of local police.
The bill—which was posted on local Philly news site, Billy Penn—will require music venues to have a list of “the full name, address and phone number of all performance acts scheduled to perform on the premises of the special assembly occupancy at any time.” Councilman Squilla may contend that the bill is not a crusade against any particular genre of music, some have speculated that it's a covert attack on the city's hip-hop scene. In fact, the deadly shooting that occurred outside of popular music venue TLA after a Lil Durk and Gunplay show was in Squilla's district, raising suspicion as to the true motive behind the bill.
The proposed bill has been criticized by the likes of the Pennsylvania ACLU for its seemingly discriminatory undertones. “This bill reflects a strange expansion of police duties and a dangerous muddling of the line between law enforcement and business licensing,” said Mary Catherine Roper, Deputy Legal Director of the Pennsylvania ACLU, after reviewing the bill.
Squilla, on the other hand, explains it is an honest attempt to combat venues that have found ways to circumvent the law. “Some clubs were operating without a license because they found a way to have music without a DJ or live performer/band,” Squilla said. “This legislation will include new forms of music/streaming that weren’t around when this first Special assembly bill became law.”
Sean Agnew, an owner of local production company R5 Productions, also deemed Squilla's proposition as uncharted territory. “This is news to me. I’m not sure what the reasoning or theory is. As someone who books 600+ shows a year, I have never once received an artist’s home address or phone number. It’s all through booking agents, managers, publicists,” Agnew told Billy Penn. “There is a firewall in place with the artists. I can’t imagine a band’s representatives wanting to give their clients information over to the police without a really good reason.”
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