Police say officers didn’t prohibit Kanye West projections

Some alleged that police shut down last Friday’s guerrilla marketing campaign, but police say event organizers never emerged.

Update #2 — June 19, 2013; 6:59 AM

Last Friday night, several Richmonders reported that police shut down the three scheduled audiovisual projections that were part of Kanye West’s global guerrilla marketing campaign promoting his new album (see below). However, police spokesperson James Mercante said that no officer directly prevented any projection from occurring.

At least one senior police officer present at each of the three scheduled locations said he saw neither organizers nor audiovisual equipment at any time. However, there appears to have been at least one projection that took place in Shockoe Bottom sometime Friday evening.

Here’s Mercante’s full statement to RVANews about the police presence last Friday night:

The Department became aware of the potential for several large groups to gather in different locations of the city for an event. As would be the case for any planned large gathering, officers monitored the areas to ensure the safety of residents and the free flow of traffic. There were no injuries or arrests.

However, police in Houston and Baltimore did shut down similar events.

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Update #1 — June 14, 2013; 9:50 PM

Several Richmonders on the scene of the first Projection are reporting that police have shut down the event because organizers did not secure the proper permits. More as it develops.

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Original — June 14, 2013

Kanye West will offer a sneak peak of his new album Yeezus across the world tonight through a guerrilla marketing campaign called Projections, a series of audio-visual installations that project his face on structural facades with accompanying audio from his new album. Three of tonight’s installations will be here in Richmond:

  • Museum of the Confederacy • 9:30 – 10:00 PM
  • W. Broad Street & Harrison Street • 10:30 – 11:30 PM
  • N. Robinson Street & Floyd Avenue • 11:30 PM – 12:00 AM

Here’s video of West’s previous projection for the song “New Slaves” at Wrigley Field last month:

Vickie Yates of the Museum of the Confederacy said she heard about the museum being used as a Projections backdrop shortly after 3:00 PM today when someone phoned her after hearing about it on Twitter. Yates said no one representing Kanye West of Def Jam Records has contacted the museum about the event.

“I would be doubtful if [the other locations] have been told either,” she said. After all, that’s the purpose of guerrilla marketing. “You kind of just go out and do it.”

While indifferent to the Museum’s inclusion in the audio-visual installation, she said her only concern was that if large crowds gather outside the museum, it might block access to the nearby VCU Medical Center. “I haven’t talked with anyone at the City of Richmond” about that, she said.

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Nathan Cushing

Nathan Cushing is a writer, journalist, and RVANews Editor.

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