Citing unspecified security concerns, the East Baton Rouge city-parish government has pulled the plug on the 13th annual Black and White Affair, a popular party scheduled for Saturday that was to have featured the rap artist Torrence “Boosie Badazz” Hatch as a special celebrity guest host.
Boosie Badazz, who formerly went by the name “Lil Boosie,” was acquitted in Baton Rouge of orchestrating a murder-for-hire scheme in 2009. One of the rapper’s protégés, Michael “Marlo Mike” Louding, was convicted in the fatal shooting of Terry Boyd, who was killed as he sat on a sofa inside a Vermilion Drive home on Oct. 21, 2009.
Perfect 10 Productions LLC posted on its official Instagram account that city-parish officials informed the company at 3 p.m. Wednesday, three days before the event, that the function was being canceled.
“The powers that be from City Government (including the Mayor) have cancelled our Black & White event ... Our Legal team is diligently working on this matter and documents will be filed in the morning. We have every hope that our event will go on as scheduled, and we will keep you informed.”
Attorney Chris Alexander, representing Perfect 10 Productions, said Thursday afternoon that he did not know why the contract with the River Center was breached.
“We are going to find out who made the decision to cancel this event and why,” Alexander said. “We’ll get to the bottom of it. And if they try to concoct a reason after the fact, we will discover that, too.”
Alexander filed a petition on behalf of Perfect 10 Productions owner Terral C. Jackson Jr., known as T.J. Jackson, for a temporary restraining order in 19th Judicial District Court asking a judge to intervene so the event could proceed, but the request was denied.
Alexander said the next step would be to sue for monetary damages. They spent about $40,000 in scheduling, promoting and planning, the petition says.
“We are going to give them an opportunity here to make this right in the next 24 hours or less, and if it’s not made right, then we’ll take action at that time,” he said Thursday afternoon.
Jackson said the Black and White Affair is a large, high-end theme event that gives clients who work with him the opportunity to come together.
The River Center has housed this event twice in the past, Jackson said, and it also has been held at other establishments, including the high-end Camelot Club and the Atrium at the Belle of Baton Rouge. The last two were held at the Renaissance Hotel on Bluebonnet Boulevard, Jackson said.
Jackson said the River Center’s sales director, Rhonda Ruffino, actually approached him about hosting the Black and White Affair at the River Center this year. He said he reserved the location in February, and the two parties signed a contract in the first week of June, shortly after which tickets went on sale.
The only way the River Center would host the event, though, was if he hired big talent to perform at the party, Jackson said.
“They said, ‘You must have talent on the show.’ Those were my marching orders from them,” Jackson said. “I typically don’t do talent. That was per their request.”
Even after he booked Boosie to participate, the River Center showed no hesitation about hosting the party, Jackson said.
“His name was on the contract,” Jackson said. “It was not a secret.”
Jackson said River Center General Manager Michael Day and other facility personnel called him in on Wednesday, initially to talk about increasing security measures.
River Center officials attending the meeting told him that City Hall called a half-hour before the meeting, telling them the event had to be canceled, Jackson said. He said he was told the call was made by Mayor-President Kip Holden himself.
Holden did not respond to requests for a comment on the issue.
“They did mention that there are some concerns because of Boosie,” Jackson said of security issues raised at the meeting. “They said they think it might be a threat of danger of violence, and they don’t want that to split open to downtown.”
Day told The Advocate the event was canceled for security reasons but did not go into particulars. He said City Hall and “city enforcement” were involved in the decision.
Alexander said Boosie last performed in Baton Rouge on July 3, 2014, at Southern University without any problem. And Jackson said he’s had no problem with hundreds of events he’s put on over the years.
“I don’t have any history of incidents at my functions, especially this function,” Jackson said.
High-profile attendees were to have included Glen “Big Baby” Davis; Brandon LaFell, of the New England Patriots; Jarvis Landry, of the Miami Dolphins; and Bennie Logan, of the Philadelphia Eagles, many of whom Jackson said are among his friends. Davis even offered to call the mayor in his stead, Jackson said.
Jackson said he and Day offered to pull Boosie from the event, but the Mayor’s Office still refused to change its decision. He said they feared Boosie’s removal might lead to retaliation and could cause violence, as well.
Alexander said he contacted Day twice himself but has yet to get in touch with him.
An Instagram post by Perfect 10 Productions on Wednesday said tickets for the event were rapidly selling out. With a capacity of 2,400, about 1,100 tickets had been sold prior to the cancellation, Jackson said.
“We had every intention of selling out,” Jackson said. “We were on pace to sell out.”
Special VIP section packages for the event were priced at $800 to $1,500, while general admission tickets cost between $25 and $45, and VIP tickets $75.
Baton Rouge police directed inquiries regarding the event to Holden’s office.
Mary Olive Pierson, a Baton Rouge attorney who regularly works with the city-parish government, confirmed she was contacted by the Mayor’s Office to see if she could assist in shutting the party down. But shortly after the phone call, she said, it was announced the party was being canceled, so her services were not needed.
Jackson, who is close to Boosie’s family, said he spoke to Boosie’s agent and brother Taquari Hatch, who said he was displeased with the government’s actions.
“You might see the negative stuff, but in courts, he was acquitted,” Jackson said. “Let him live his life. ... He loves Baton Rouge dearly, but that’s why he moved from here: so he wouldn’t have to deal with this type of scrutiny and judgment.”
Boosie currently lives in Atlanta.
Boosie was paroled in March 2014 from the Louisiana State Penitentiary at Angola after serving 52 months in state custody for various drug-related offenses.
Boosie, who started his music career in Baton Rouge, became a superstar in the world of rap music, selling hundreds of thousands of records, many describing a violent world on the street.
In a song titled “187,” police code in California for homicide, Boosie called himself the John Gotti of the south side. In other songs, he threatened East Baton Rouge District Attorney Hillar Moore III and bragged about Louding, a then-17-year-old protégé who was charged in six murders, including that of rival rapper Chris “Nussie” Jackson in February 2009.
“Hillar Moore, your racist ass is going to hell ... Probably be dead when I come out of jail,” Boosie says in a song that was included on his album “Gone Til December.”
In the song “187,” he says, “I’m the reason the murder rate is so high.”
An East Baton Rouge Parish grand jury accused Boosie in 2010 of paying Louding to kill Boyd. Louding told investigators that Boosie paid him $2,800 to kill Boyd, but Louding later recanted in sworn testimony at Boosie’s trial.
An anonymous jury found Boosie not guilty.
Louding, who was convicted in the killing and sentenced to life in prison, is mentioned in several of Boosie’s songs and is pictured in at least two of his videos on YouTube.
The Black and White Affair would have been Boosie’s fourth performance in Baton Rouge, his hometown, since his acquittal, Jackson said.
Follow Danielle Maddox on Twitter, @Dani_Maddox4.