Pharrell Williams explains why he pulled his music festival from Virginia

Pharrell Williams explains why he pulled his music festival from Virginia
Pharrell Williams (Photo credit: / DFree)

Producer Pharrell Williams has spoken and decided that he’ll be pulling his Something in the Water music festival from his hometown of Virginia Beach, Virginia, stating that his city is run by a “toxic energy” and hasn’t valued his proposed solutions. Williams penned a letter to city manager Patrick Duhaney and has expressed his displeasure with the city over the handling of his cousin Donovon Lynch’s killing earlier this year.

Lynch was fatally shot by a Virginia Beach police officer in March 2021. A state grand jury investigation into 25-year-old Donovon Lynch’s death has now been launched while the autopsy found that Lynch’s death was a homicide. No criminal charges have been filed in the case to date. Court documents revealed that Lynch suffered two gunshot wounds and was pronounced dead at the scene.

Wayne Lynch, the father of Donovan Lynch, filed a federal lawsuit following the death of his son in June in Norfolk’s U.S. District Court and is seeking $50 million from the city. He is requesting a jury trial. The suit also names officer Solomon Simmons as the alleged shooter, though the Virginia Beach Police Department hasn’t confirmed the officer’s identity.

“The toxic energy that changed the narrative several times around the homicide of my cousin, Donovon Lynch, a citizen of Virginia, is the same toxic energy that changed the narrative around the mass murder and senseless loss of life at Building Number 2,” Williams wrote in a letter referring to a 2019 mass shooting at a local municipal building that left 12 dead.

In the letter, the “Happy” hitmaker explained that the festival was successful in easing racial tensions, unifying people and bringing economic development opportunities. However, that same energy was not being reciprocated. Williams had been meeting with the city officials prior to and after Lynch’s death.

“I wish the same energy I’ve felt from Virginia Beach leadership upon losing the festival would have been similarly channeled following the loss of my relative’s life,” Williams added in the letter.

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