Pharrell Williams won’t hold his Something in the Water music festival in his native Virginia Beach next year, citing his displeasure with the city leadership’s “toxic energy” in the wake of the police-involved death of his cousin.
The famed musician said in a letter Tuesday to Virginia Beach City Manager Patrick Duhaney that the festival he launched in 2019 wouldn’t return after his 25-year-old cousin Donovon Lynch was fatally shot by a city police officer in March, a local NBC News affiliate reported.
“I love my city, but for far too long it has been run by — and with — toxic energy,” Williams, 48, wrote, the affiliate reported. “The toxic energy that changed the narrative several times around the homicide of my cousin, Donovon 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.”
The letter was in response to the city manager’s own letter expressing his disappointment in Williams pulling the festival — which was canceled out of COVID-19 concerns the past two years — and the resulting economic and social impact on the city.
“I wish the same energy I’ve felt from Virginia Beach leadership upon losing the festival would have been similarly channeled following the loss of my relative’s life,” Williams wrote, the affiliate reported.