A recent television newscast has stirred up a pot of anger and controversy in the Black community after it was reported that racy advertisements promoted by a nightclub DJ and promoter in Broad Ripple Village, might be the cause of the recent wave of violence in the area. As a result of the newscast, DJ Cash, the DJ at Landsharks Bar and Nightclub and NYX Nighclub, was fired from his position.
Fourth of July weekend, seven people were shot in the area and since the incident, the Broad Ripple Village Association and surrounding community members are on the hunt for the cause.
The Indianapolis Homeland Security Chief, Gary Coons said the promotion “Dope video for a dope party,” as stated on an ad by DJ Cash, brings illegal activity.
The community turned to social media to express their concern and rage after the report was released. Many say Broad Ripple isn’t a place where Black people are welcomed despite the “We Are Open if You Are” motto the location promotes.
DJ Cash who has been working at Landsharks for a year and NYX for eight months said the newscast blamed him for bringing the wrong crowd into the area by promoting sex, drugs and violence.
He says he was fired by the nightclub owners because of pressure from the community but neither of them wanted to let him go.
“Without saying it, they were getting blackmailed by the Broad Ripple Village Association to cut ties with me or when it was time for them to have their liquor license renewed they wouldn’t be allowed.”
The club owners say they fired DJ Cash before the newscast aired, which is true. However he was fired after the topic was brought to their attention and before the news was released to the public according to the DJ.
DJ Cash said he didn’t feel uncomfortable with the ads and didn’t find them offensive. He adds that his promotions were created based off of other nightclub promotions in the area.
He said he definitely feels that race plays a part in the situation.
“There are others in the area who DJ the same nights I do in Broad Ripple and their promotions are very similar to mine. They didn’t lose their job. Those DJs happen to be white,” he said.
Brad Meadows, a representative of the Indiana Civil Rights Commission, said since Indiana is an at-will employment state, anyone can be terminated for any reason unless it is discriminatory.
“In this case it appears that discrimination could have occurred and I would highly encourage the DJ to contact our office,” said Meadows. “Unfortunately we’re only hearing one side of the story in the article released.”
At Recorder press time, Mark Casey, the owner of Landsharks, has yet to return any phone calls. However, in a recent interview, the general manager of NYX nightclub, Mike Stancombe, agreed that the parting was all due to pressure and that he has always welcomed the African-American community.
“We received pressure, and I had to do what I had to do to protect our investment. It was a very hard and sad decision to make, trust me,” said Stancombe. “I felt it was not fair. I cannot have the pressure. I cannot have people standing on us like this.”
In one of the most popular ads is a photo of musician Beyoncé and rapper Jay-Z. The photo shows the two wearing a ski mask as a promotion for their latest tour “On the Run.” These two artists have a heavy influence on the Black community and have received positive feedback from their promotion and concerts. Does promoting this same ad make it too racy and violent for the Indianapolis community, although it has been nationally promoted for the last few months?
As a result of the controversy, DJ Cash said he plans to take a few weeks off to rebrand, but he has had several offers at other nightclubs.
“I probably will change some of my ads and make them less edgy. What I have learned from this is people will follow me regardless because they support me as a person and as a DJ,” said DJ Cash.
Meadows believes a situation such as this, shows the need for cultural competency in our communities.
“I know there is some language and lyrics that can be misinterpreted but unless you are able to find out what those phrases mean in that particular culture, basing your decision to fire someone off of those things could be discrimination,” said Meadows.
“It’s bigger than me,” added the DJ. “The Black community is already short on places we can go to party. Those are two spots they took from the urban community that looked forward to going to the nights I was there. I think attendance will decline tremendously.”