Pharrell Williams Axes Hometown Music Festival Due to Toxic Energy After Cousin Was Killed by Cop

The Neptunes star cites ‘toxic’ environment as the reason behind the cancellation of his Something in the Water festival in Virginia following the shooting of his cousin.

AceShowbizPharrell Williams is pulling his “Something in the Water” festival from his Virginian hometown after the police killing of his cousin earlier this year (21).

The Grammy-winning singer/producer feels he cannot stage the Virginia Beach festival, which he launched in 2019, due to the “toxic” environment following the March shooting death of his cousin, Donovon Lynch, 25, at the hands of a police officer in the state.

In a letter on Tuesday (05Oct21), to city manager Patrick Duhaney, Pharrell wished local leadership bosses had been as affected by his cousin’s death as they were by his earlier announcement he planned to move his gathering to another town in 2022.

Explaining the Something in the Water festival was “meant to ease racial tension, unify the region and bring economic opportunities to the local business community,” Pharrell added, “We achieved those things! 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,” according to a copy of the letter posted by a local TV station.

In April, the “Hidden Figures” hitmaker called for a federal investigation into the fatal police shooting of Lynch. At the time, police officials claimed Lynch had a handgun and that it was recovered from the scene.

The officer who shot Lynch reportedly did not have his body camera activated. City police chiefs have turned over the investigation into Lynch’s death to the Virginia State Police, according to Billboard.

“I love my city, but for far too long it has been run by – and with toxic energy,” Pharrell continued in his letter.

“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,” he penned, referring to a May, 2019 shooting at the Virginia Beach Municipal Center that left 12 people dead and four injured.

The Neptunes producer appears to be reacting to a message last month from Duhaney, who wrote that he felt “immense disappointment” upon learning Pharrell would pull the festival, as the inaugural event brought in more $24 million (£17.7 million) for the city. The 2020 fest was cancelled due to the pandemic.

Duhaney had estimated this year’s Something in the Water event would bring in $41 million (£32 million).

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