[Five Deadly Everythings]

Is hindsight still 20/20 when 50’s involved?

Posted in hip-hop, music, Toronto by Jef on September 27, 2007

A discussion on rapper 50 Cent will take place tomorrow night, 7:30 p.m., at the Canadian Business Ethics Research Network (CBERN), Schulich School of Business, York University.

The discussion panel will include Neil Shankman, who is the CEO over at REMG Entertainment Corporation (full disclosure: I used to intern for them).

REMG is the concert promotions company that brought 50 Cent to Toronto in December, 2005. If you remember, 2005 was the year of “The Summer of the Gun.” Because of that, there was much hoopla leading up to the concert, exemplified by Liberal MP Dan McTeague asking for 50 to be banned entry into the country.

(Dalton McGuinty, however, responded that we shouldn’t overestimate 50’s influence.)


Shankman’s discussion will focus on the ethical issues behind his company’s decision to bring 50 to the T-dot. It should be noted that nobody was harmed at the concert despite (or perhaps because of) the concerns raised by the controvery.

So why bring this up now? 50’s concert woes may be old news but I think it’s a valuable case study, especially now in hindsight. Was the proposed ban nothing more than a political chess move? Was 50 a scapegoat? Was the proposed ban racist? Was the whole controversy, on the part of the media and the politicians, an unfortunate sensationalization of “The Summer of the Gun”?

Like I was saying, hindsight is 20/20. I’m sure Shankman’s discussion would be radically different if someone in the crowd had been shot that night.

But I think back to Richard Budman’s documentary, The Toronto Rap Project, to the scene where a group of “at-risk-youths” stand outside of the 50 Cent concert and one of them remarks that the type of kids people were worried about after of the “Summer of the Gun” probably couldn’t even afford the exorbitant ticket prices. I wonder where classism fits in this whole debate.

The discussion will stream live on the CBERN website.

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