Miami Gardens Mayor Shirley Gibson, Rick Ross, and State Representative Oscar Braynon II.
To confirm our breaking news report (which we had up before any other news outlet in the country), the 2nd Annual Rick Ross Be Out Day was in fact interrupted and tainted by gunfire yesterday. By now, reports across South Florida have already put a negative spin on the event, with implications that because this was a hip-hop event, this was bound to happen.
And national blogs are already on fire with suggestions that the shooting was staged, calling it damage control and a publicity stunt put on by Ross' "PR goons" to give the rapper more street credibility after he was recently outed in a scandal about previously working as a correctional officer. Comments on some sites are brutal, basically, saying Ross had it coming and imply that the streets are angry at Ross for lying about his former job.
Since I was on the ground, I can tell you that all of that is garbage. The shooting had nothing to do with Ross and came from outside of Carol City Park, not inside as was reported yesterday.
Flo Rida and Brisco chat immediately after the shooting.
It was basically an argument between some young dudes to the right of the stage, outside of the park, when one person let off about 12-15 rounds up in the air. The number of shots sent everyone into a panic, and naturally caused a lot of chaos. What made it worse was that Miami Gardens Mayor Shirley Gibson and State Representative Oscar Braynon II were on the stage when it happened.
But within a minute, the DJ had already cued the music again up to restore order, and it's clear that Ross and camp wanted the event to continue.
Five minutes after the shooting, Brisco took the stage and as the music started up for his hood anthem, "Bitch I'm Me" the crowd went wild!!! Brisco paced the stage like an artist in the zone and the crowd on hand was behind him every step of the way. He sang about 10 seconds of the song before the DJ pulled it up and dropped it again. Kids at the park were going nuts!
All of the artists on stage at the time, Rick Ross, Flo Rida, and various Poe Boy affiliates were definitely trying to make sure the kids on hand got to see the performances they'd been waiting for. That seemed important to them, and the situation outside of the park was already secured. But because of the proximity to the crime scene, the police suggested that the event be brought to a halt. Ross and Co. put the safety of the kids first and obliged. Frankly, it was all handled maturely. There could have been much better security on site but on a scorching hot day like this, tempers were bound to get out of hand. It could have happened anywhere.
I talked with Ross afterward and he was upset everything ended the way it did. But he stayed positive.
"It’s another day in the city, I’m a keep it real," he said. "I feel like all the kids came and they left safe. Some dudes had a squabble on the side of the road and whatever happened happened, but other than that, all the kids got to see Rick Ross, Flo Rida, Brisco and we all had a good time."
When asked if he planned to do it next year, his answer was immediate: "Oh I’m a do it every year. You gotta be a leader. You gotta stand for something and represent for something and that’s what the kids need to see to get motivated to do bigger and better things in their own lives."
What will definitely get lost in most of the media reporting was that Rick Ross Charities gave out over 2,000 backpacks to local children, thousands of meals, and provided free HIV/Aids testing to the community and registered people to vote. So no, this wasn't a publicity stunt in any regard. The shooting was real, but it didn't take away from the spirit of giving back to the community which is what the day was all about.