A day after rapper Chief Keef’s planned appearance via hologram at a Pilsen theater was canceled, the company behind the event announced it had been merely ‘postponed.’
Alki David, CEO of FilmOn Networks and Hologram USA, also criticized Rev. Michael Pfleger, whose Facebook page urged Keef to “Shut up!!!!!” when word of the concert first spread.
“The meddling, attention-seeking Father Pfleger, who bullied the owner of the downtown theater to back out of his contract, will not succeed. He is exploiting this tragedy and taking money away from the victims and solid charities who are doing good work in Chicago,” David said in a written statement.
“Chief Keef is 19 years old and a loving father. His example of new maturity, redemption, and wanting to give back can influence young people on the South Side like no caterwauling clergyman can. We will bring Keef’s message of peace to the streets.”
Friday morning, Rev. Pfleger called David’s comments “bizarre” and “absolutely ridiculous.”
“That the president of a company, on behalf of Chief Keef, would put out a statement that is entirely a lie — are you crazy?” Pfleger told the Chicago Sun-Times.
Pflger said he’s had no dealings whatsoever with whoever runs the theater where the Keef charity show had been planned.
“I’ve had no conversation with them at all,” Pfleger said.
As for being called a “caterwauling clergyman,” the South Side pastor said: “I don’t even know what this is. I’ll have to go the dictionary.”
The benefit concert had been planned for Friday. Keef was to appear via hologram at a theater in the Pilsen neighborhood.
A city source confirmed Thursday that the concert scheduled at the Redmoon Theater was canceled.
In an emailed statement, Debbie Saul, Redmoon’s director of marketing, wrote: “Redmoon did not understand the full nature of the event. The event will not be taking place at Redmoon.”
This isn’t the first time a Keef show had been canceled. A concert scheduled to take place in Cicero in June 2014 was canceled amid rumors on social media of threats of violence to Keef and his entourage.
Immediately after the cancellation of that show, promoters attempted to switch the venue to a strip club in south suburban Harvey, but the mayor of Harvey refused to allow it.
Keef, whose real name is Keith Cozart, decided to put on the hologram show after hearing about a South Side shooting and car chase that led to the deaths of Keef’s friend Marvin Carr, known as rapper Capo, and 13-month-old Dillan Harris. The toddler was in a stroller when it was struck by a car that fled the scene of the fatal shooting.
Antoine Watkins, 21, of the 8100 block of South Bennett, was charged Monday with murder in the toddler’s death.
Keef was moved by the deaths and “wants to speak out against all the violence,” said Owen Phillips, a spokesman for 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.”
Earlier this week, Phillips said a truck with the technology to project Chief Keef’s hologram was being driven to Chicago from California.
The plan was to park the truck in a large space owned by Redmoon.
Keef was to 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 charges, 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 was to be donated to Chicago charities and the victims’ families. Keef and FilmOn’s owner were to match the proceeds.
Phillips also announced Keef’s new anti-violence foundation, Stop The Violence Now.
Pfleger — an outspoken anti-violence advocate and pastor of St. Sabina Church in the neighborhood where Keef grew up — had criticized Keef earlier in the week for not being genuine.
“His foundation says ‘stop the violence,’ but his music glorifies violence, and you can’t have it both ways,” Pfleger said Thursday evening.
Pfleger expressed frustration with the mixed message. “He could be a great voice for peace,” he said.