If you were unaware, there was a concert for Atlanta-based rapper T.I. on May 25th, 2016. There was a shooting at that concert, and it unfortunately cost someone their life, as well as leaving three others injured. I was present at the venue that day, waiting to photograph the show. It was a scary experience, but not one that would scare me away from doing what I love. In fact, i photographed a concert the very next night.
T.I. never got to take the stage, but a couple of his opening acts did. I wanted to write about the event, because I want to make one thing clear: this was not some unsafe warzone of an event. Before the incident, it was clear that everyone was there to have a good time. Keeping up with the news was one of the most disappointing parts of the entire ordeal. The reports went from simply stating the early stages of what was known, to running with an ignorant comment made by NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton.
It’s an absolute shame that in a scenario where three people were injured and one person lost their life, that the person charged with leading the police was only moved to make loose commentary on an entire genre of music, condemning its performers as thugs. That was completely out of line and uncalled for. Things were still raw and there was a lot of confusion in the air. The last thing that anyone needed was an authority figure making blanket, inflammatory statements.
While things obviously didn’t turn out the way anyone expected, I want readers here to know that people were in fact having a great time up until the time of the incident. There were a few performances earlier in the night. The place was packed, and the other acts were getting a good reception from the crowd. Here are just a few images of the night—some that don’t involve caution tape or stretchers.
There was talk about the security, and I’ve gotta point out that no amount of pat downs and metal detectors at the door will matter if the source of the violence wasn’t in the audience. Things started in the green room, and who is to say how artists are treated in comparison to the general audience?
I was thoroughly patted down and my bags were checked much more carefully at a different venue the next day, and I wasn’t even the least bit upset. If this is what needs to be done, fine. I still want to point out that this needs to be universal. You can check me and the public as much as you want, but if the artists themselves aren’t being checked, then it’s ineffective.
I don’t really have much of a point in what I’m writing. This is completely personal, and it was a really heavy night. I just wanted to get some of my frustrations off of my chest.