A new bill proposed by Philadelphia Councilman Mark Squilla would compel music venues in the city to provide lists of full names and addresses of their upcoming performers to local police upon request. Finally, Philly may be rid of the filthy rock and roll and hip-hop scourges forever! You’re The Man, Squilla.*
The bill, noted on the local news site Billy Penn, requires bars and nightclubs with live shows and occupancies of greater than 50 people to maintain a registry containing “the full name, address and phone number of all performance acts scheduled to perform on the premises of the special assembly occupancy at any time.” The bill would also make police responsible for approving and denying the licenses needed to hold live performances, instead of the Department of Licenses and Inspections, which currently issues them. The approval process would involve “crime, traffic, litter, noise, parking and hours of operation,” according to the legislation.
The names and personal information of upcoming performers seem like inexplicable factors in this calculus, until you consider two key pieces of information. The first, as Billy Penn notes, is a fatal shooting that occurred outside a Lil Durk and Gunplay show in Squilla’s district last year. The second is the councilman’s appearance in June at a not-not-racist event where attendees held signs with barely-veiled slogans like “White lives matter” and “Eliminate the thugs.” (In Facebook posts, the rally’s organizer appeared to do away with the dog-whistle entirely, posting memes that made heavy use of the n-word and photoshops involving gorillas and fried chicken.)
Under Squilla’s proposed legislation, if police wanted to find out which Philly clubs were regularly hosting rap shows and shut down their performance licenses, it wouldn’t have a hard time doing so at all.
*This honorific is meant strictly in the sense of “sticking it to The Man.”