By MITCH DUDEK and STEFANO ESPOSITO
Forget the concert. Send a check instead.
That’s Father Michael Pfleger’s response to rapper Chief Keef’s plan to hold a concert in memory of a rapper friend slain in gun violence over the weekend, as well as a toddler who died in the aftermath.
Earlier Monday, Pfleger had an even more blunt message for the rapper on his Facebook page: “SHUT UP!!!!!”
“Chief Keef has announced that he will hold a benefit concert to raise funds for his friend and the Baby who were killed this past weekend….REALLY…Chief Keef is one of the reasons we have all this violence…he has been one of the encourager’s of the Violence,” wrote the outspoken pastor who has taken to the pulpit and the streets to fight gun violence.
“Instead of having a concert…why doesn’t he Man Up and acknowledge it’s time to stop this violence and Apologize for his part in it!!!! we don’t need a concert…we need PEACE……7 DEAD and 24 SHOT this weekend and he wants to do a concert…..Chief Keef….SHUT UP!!!!!” the post ends.
Within five hours of the post being put up on Facebook, it had more than 400 likes.
Later Monday, Pfleger branded Keef a hypocrite for this week announcing the formation of a new anti-violence foundation, while embracing violence through his music.
“That’s great, but unless you are going to say, I’m going to stop making music that glorifies violence, then you are hypocritical,” Pfleger told the Chicago Sun-Times. “What are you going to do at the concert? Your music is promoting and glorifying [violence]. Just send a check.”
Pfleger said the rapper could be a “very strong voice for peace. But the question is, does he have the courage to be the voice for peace?”
Keef announced over the weekend he would have the free concert this Friday night but can’t appear in person — because of a warrant connected to his failure to pay child support. Records show he owes $14,613.
So the rapper will appear via hologram from the West Coast during a concert on the back of a flatbed truck that will be parked in a warehouse or parking lot somewhere in Chicago.
Keef, whose real name is Keith Cozart, decided to put on the show after hearing about the South Side shooting and car chase on the that led to the deaths of his friend Marvin Carr, known as rapper Capo, and 13-month-old Dillan Harris, who was fatally struck by a car being chased by police after Carr’s shooting.
On Monday, police charged Antoine Watkins, 21, of the 8100 block of South Bennett, with murder in the toddler’s death. Watkins appeared in court Monday, where he was ordered held without bond and a woman yelled at him from the gallery: “You killed my baby!”
Keef was moved by the deaths and “wants to speak out against all the violence,” said Owen Phillips, a spokesman for Alki David, the Greek billionaire owner of HologramUSA and FilmOn, who recently signed the rapper and is orchestrating the show. “It’s something new in Keef’s music that he’s trying to express.”
Phillips said the truck with the technology to project Chief Keef’s hologram is currently being driven to Chicago from California.
He will perform on a Beverly Hills stage owned by HologramUSA, Phillips said. The rapper recently signed a two-album deal with David’s FilmOn, an online television streaming company.
Phillips said Chief Keef can’t physically be in Chicago to perform because his legal team is addressing an outstanding warrant.
The warrant against Chief Keef, who grew up in Englewood and has a history of gun and drug charge, stems from allegations that he hasn’t paid child support, according to a spokeswoman for the Cook Country Sheriff’s Department. The warrant does not allow the rapper to be extradited to Illinois from California. It’s enforceable only in Illinois, she said.
Money collected at the concert will be donated to Chicago charities and the victims’ families. Keef and FilmOn’s owner will match the money that’s raised.
Phillips also announced Keef’s new anti-violence foundation, Stop The Violence Now, but could provide no details.
—Chicago SUn-Times and Chicago Sun-Times Wire