Sunday, April 6, 2003

Oxford manager fights rap show

50 Cent? Make change, letter asks

By Jon Gambrell
The Cincinnati Enquirer

OXFORD - Rapper 50 Cent will perform before a sellout crowd of 4,000-plus April 23 in Miami University's Millet Hall, but not everyone is looking forward to the one-time drug dealer's arrival.

In an April 2 letter to Miami President James Garland, Oxford City Manager Jane Howington voiced her concerns about the concert, warning of a possible "public safety nightmare."

"This event is putting the entire community at risk, an action I most vehemently oppose," Howington wrote.

Citing problems at a recent San Francisco concert, Howington said more than 100 police officers would be needed for adequate coverage for the event. Miami's police department has 27 officers.

Miami University Police Chief Cathryn House said the situation was constantly being monitored, but that it would be handled as a routine concert.

"His hype and reality don't line up," House said. "The hype does raise some concern, but I try to do my homework."

While final details of the security arrangement hadn't been finalized, House said that roughly 25 Miami police officers would be on hand.

All attending the concert would be coming through one entrance and would pass through metal detectors, with security staff monitoring the backstage area.

Tickets for the concert were sold only to students, staff and faculty.

50 Cent, whose real name is Curtis Jackson, often wears a bulletproof vest while performing. He is marketed as the "real deal," a former drug dealer from New York City who was shot nine times.

His album Get Rich or Die Tryin' is No. 4 on Billboard's Top 200 albums.

The rapper is scheduled to perform tonight at Bogart's in Clifton.

Gabby Ata, president of the Miami campus activities council, said that she understood Howington's worries, but has no concerns.

"He wasn't brought here to talk about cocaine," the senior zoology major said. "We want to enjoy his music."

When 50 Cent appeared in Cincinnati Feb. 18, things were calm, amid a large police presence.

Holly Wissing, director of news and public information at Miami, said that while the university understood Howington's letter, the situation was well under control.

"He has performed at several colleges," Wissing said. "When he was at Old Dominion College, they only staffed 14 officers for the concert. But we will certainly keep our eye on the situation."

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