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Hip-Hop music banned at black-owned Baltimore bar. Can ‘they’ do that?

on 04/03/12 at 10:51 am

Booze News

Has the influence of community association agreements become detrimental to black owned businesses in Baltimore?

Yesterday, at Baltimore City Hall, the three members that make up the city’s Liquor Board made a controversial decision that can possibly have rippling effects on black owned businesses throughout Baltimore. Upon granting the Ray Charles Lounge their liquor license – after weighing the complaints offered up by the predominately white Cedemont Community Improvement Association – the board decided to side with the 15-page MOU that states that the club owners may not play Hip-Hop music, in any form or fashion, and have granted the rights of hire by the establishment, to the authorization of a community association that do not frequent the establishment – nor do they seem to favor the elderly black couple who own it.

‘Under no circumstances shall the licensee allow any show, band, act, etc…to perform entertainment that can be classified as predominately Hip-Hop in nature; including musical and cultural genres and/or elements of Hip-Hop, such as rhythm and blues (R&B), go-go, funk, reggae and/or reggaeton, disco, dance hall, etc…’

Chairman Stephen Fogleman, after hearing hours of testimony from both sides that lasted two days, and conferring with fellow board members Harvey Jones and Elizabeth Smith; found that the new owners of an establishment once owned and operated by another individual who agreed to such stipulations, still applies to Ray and April Charles – based on that persons name still being on the current liquor license held by the couple. However, the music selection is only one of the possible unconstitutional provisions stipulated in the agreement. First reported by this Examiner in January, exposing the outrageous stipulations placed in an agreement that seemed to have obvious racial overtures, this matter seems to have come down to a split-decision.

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