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Published:June 8th, 2009 09:59 EST
The Real Show Stopper

The Real Show Stopper

By Avah LaReaux

He produces the songs that make the whole hip-hop world sing. Well, the artists that do. Names like Jill Scott, Musiq Soulchild, and the infamous Will "The Fresh Prince" Smith have been equated to his name. Yet, in Kansas City, DJ Jazzy Jeff was asked to leave the stage - or at least remove the artist he was performing with.

Another warm Kansas City evening in the renowned Power & Light District and once again, the shining beacon that boasts of being about diversity and welcoming everyone is caught behaving exclusively. After not more than 30 minutes of a planned set on the Bacardi B-Live Tour, word came to the music icon that his performance strategy needed to be changed. It has been reported by the Kansas City Star that the changes being called for were the removal of Jeff`s hype man, Skillz.

According to the local report, venue officials had problems with Skillz`s posture which they say included the flashing of gang signs and the grabbing of his genitals. Participants in the crowd reported not seeing the alleged gestures and say there was no offensive language or other behavior during the set. In short, the show was going wonderfully and may even have been called family friendly. This incident is the first to have occurred on the Bacardi B-Live Tour, but is not the first display of exclusive behavior in the Power & Light District.

Born Jeffrey Townes in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, DJ Jazzy Jeff has an illustrious career that spans 25 years and several musical genres. Credited with making the "transform" technique of scratching famous and earning the first-ever rap Grammy Award to be presented to a performer, Jeff has "transformed" the world of music and transcended the art form like no other.

One Kansas City resident had this response after learning of the incident, "Ray Charles had to deal with the stuff back in the 1950`s and 1960`s and artists still have to deal with this non-sense today. They called it Jim Crow then. What do they call it now?"

Kansas City is known of barbecue, jazz, and art. It has been said that art is expression. If that indeed is true, where was the freedom of expression for this event? When expression in a non-threatened, inoffensive manner is censored, do we not all feel the effects of that censorship? According to a Kansas City, Kansas resident, "The art form is weakened if only certain people are allowed to share. It`s not art when only one genre or category is accepted over another. Art is inclusive." Amen to that.