Super producer Pharrell made fans in his hometown of Virginia Beach, Virginia very happy when he debuted his Something In The Water music festival in 2019. Due to COVID-19, the highly-anticipated festival was canceled in 2020 and 2021. But due to restrictions lifting, the show is returning in 2022. But, it won't be in the state moving forward. Pharrell put out an open letter to city officials explaining his decision to remove the festival, citing its "toxic environment."
Pharrell's letter came as a response to the city's manager Patrick Duhaney, who cites his "immense disappointment" that Something In The Water is being moved elsewhere. The "Happy" singer says his decision is a direct result of the city's response to his cousin's murder. Pharrell's cousin was murdered by a police officer who did not have their body camera turned on.
"When we did the festival, it was to ease racial tension, to unify the region, bring about economic development opportunities and broaden the horizons of the local business community," Pharrell wrote in part, per UPROXX. "We achieved those things! 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...Until gatekeepers and the powers-that-be consider the citizens and the consumer base, and no longer view the idea of human rights for all as a controversial idea… I don't have any problems with the city, but I realize the city hasn't valued my proposed solutions, either."
In March 2021, Pharrell's 25-year-old cousin Donovan Lynch was killed at the Oceanfront. His death was ruled a homicide by a medical examiner. On the evening of Lynch's, there were three separate shooting incidents that left two others dead and eight others injured. Police alleged that Lynch brandished a handgun prior to being shot. They claim that a gun was found at the scene of the cime. Lynch's family however argues Lynch could legally carry and do not believe that he would have brandished a weapon.