Mos Def was arrested last week while he tried to play for people waiting outside Radio City Music Hall, where the MTV Video Music Awards took place in New York last week.
Mos Def, whose real name is Dante Smith, reportedly drove up to the venue in a flatbed truck and began to set up his own show. NYPD claim they asked the rapper/actor to cease and desist. However, a source close to Smith told MTV news the police first asked whether they had a permit to perform; when told there was a permit they allowed the Ms Fat Booty singer to proceed (Smith's publicist later revealed they did not, in fact, have a permit).
Apparently, it was after Smith sang Katrina Clap, a song attacking the Bush administration's response to Hurricane Katrina, that more police were called and arrests were made. Some reports suggest police charged Smith with disorderly conduct. He was released the next day. However, a statement from Carleen Donovan, a representative for Smith, said, "Mos Def chose to use his voice to speak for those who are losing their own during this critical period of reconstruction. [He] was in the middle of performing and as soon as he was made aware of the police's presence, he shut everything down. His staff and team were willing to comply as well but the police overreacted. Mos Def was not charged but given a summons for operating a sound-reproduction device without a permit, which he is going to contest."
Keywords: Mos Def, Black Star, MTV VMA 2006, political rap, true school, illegal performing