In 2022, Pharrell Williams’ Something in the Water festival will not return to his hometown of Virginia Beach. The Grammy-winning artist, addressed an open letter to Virginia Beach City Manager Patrick Duhaney, in which he chastised the city’s leaders, claiming a “toxic energy” surrounding the police killing of his cousin, Donovon Lynch back in March.
“I love my city, but for far too long it has been run by and with toxic energy,” Pharrell wrote. “The toxic energy that changed the narrative several times around the homicide of my cousin, Donovan Lynch, a citizen of Virginia, is the same toxic energy that changed the narrative around the mass murder and senseless loss of life at Building Number 2.” In March, a Virginia Beach police officer fatally shot Lynch, Pharrell William’s 25-year-old cousin, as well as Deshayla Harris, 29, as well as injured eight other people. Furthermore, neither of the two cops on the scene had their body cameras turned on.
Pharrell basically said until VA Beach stops being racist, no more SITW.
…so we’re never getting another SITW.
— alyss (@_balyss) October 5, 2021
The Future of William’s festival remains in doubt
Williams has spoken out often in the aftermath of Lynch’s death about the city’s failure to fully answer issues surrounding the incident. Something in the Water took place only in 2019. Williams said, “(it) was a big part of trying to develop community and bring more economic activity to Virginia Beach.” According to local news network WAVY, his most recent letter was a reaction to one he received from Duhaney in late September. Officials from the city voiced their dissatisfaction with the outcome.
“The manager and I want to connect with Pharrell. Sit down talk things out and that’s what we’re going to take. We are going to try to be positive about this and we are going to try to make a case that, you know, we are moving forward,” Virginia Beach mayor Bobby Dyer told local network WAVY.
Williams has not provided any additional information about the immediate or long-term future of Something in the Water. The whole letter from Pharrell Williams can be found here.
By John Galietta