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The Something in the Water music festival, which is organized in Virginia Beach by legendary Hip Hop artist and producer Parrell Williams, has been canceled for the last two years due to COVID-19 restrictions.


Source: Brian Ach / Getty

Well, it looks like the festival will be canceled in 2022 as well due to another global pandemic that has plagued Black people for the last 400 years or so. That pandemic is known as, “White people DGAF about Black people’s problems.”

To be more specific, Williams has declared that the festival won’t be returning to Virginia Beach until the city does something about its “toxic energy” problem, much of which appears to revolve around city officials handling (or lack thereof) of the shooting death of Williams’ cousin, 25-year-old Donovon Lynch, at the hands of police officer Solomon Simmons III.

As we previously reported, the Virginia Beach Police Department claimed Lynch brandished a gun at Simmons before he fatally shot him. Witnesses and family members dispute that Lynch ever pulled a gun, but we have no way of knowing whose story is accurate because Simmons conveniently had his body camera turned off—a thing that appears to be common among police officers involved in the brutalization of Black people as many of them are apparently taking a “what happens off-camera, stays off-camera” approach to negro policing.

According to, city officials aren’t happy about losing the festival, but Williams doesn’t care about anyone’s “back the blue” tears and thinks they should keep the same energy they had when they were ignoring the concerns of Black people who are unhappy about being human target practice posters for cops who think the Black community is their personal gun range.

“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 wrote in a letter to the Virginia Beach City Manager Patrick Duhaney announcing that there will be nothing in the water next year.

“I love my city, but for far too long it has been run by—and with toxic energy,” Williams’ letter continued. “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 penned his letter in response to a letter sent to him from Duhaney where he expressed “immense disappointment” after learning that the festival “may not occur in 2022.”

Duhaney appeared to be requesting an audience with Williams saying, “Before any final decisions are made, the Mayor and I would like to fully understand the sentiment that has brought us to this point.”

Imagine feeling the need to schedule a whole meeting just for Black people to say, for the umpteenth time, “cops keep killing us and y’all ain’t doing s**t.”

Duhaney noted in his letter that, due to the festival, Virginia Beach experienced “record-breaking economic success.”

“As impressive as those figures are, they are just that—numbers,” he said. “We have not lost sight of the intangible, unquantifiable impact the festival has had on the social fabric of our community.”

A funny thing sometimes happens when white people enjoy Black music and the financial benefit of Black popularity but then fail to keep the same energy for Black issues: Black people eventually stop allowing themselves to be exploited.

“Until the gatekeepers and the powers-that-be consider the citizens and the consumer base, and no longer view the idea of human rights for all as a controversial idea… I don’t have any problems with the city, but I realize the city hasn’t valued my proposed solutions either,” Williams wrote.


Local Virginia Beach councilman Aaron Rouse has also released an official statement and he’s doubling down on what was said by Pharrell.

“Speaking for myself, I think the city of Virginia Beach has squandered a wonderful opportunity to impact our city culturally socially, and economically because of the inability to confront the reality of life in front us.”



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