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Local hip-hop community reacts to decision by Waiting Room to stop hosting local rap shows

Posted at 10:30 PM, Aug 20, 2019
and last updated 2019-08-20 23:30:39-04

OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — Almost two weeks ago, a man was shot and killed after a local hip-hop show outside the Waiting Room in Benson.

Now the owner of the concert venue tells our partners at the Omaha World Herald, they'll no longer put on local rap concerts.

While local live music has grown a lot in the last decade or so in Omaha, the hip hop community hasn't seen the same growth. Now with the Waiting Room Lounge shutting out hip-hop, they feel even more slighted.

"I don't think hip-hop has gotten its respect, has gotten its due, I would say the same about R & B, in Omaha as far as venues go,” says rapper J. Crum.

J. Crum, an Omaha based rapper who has played the Waiting Room several times, says for years there's been a bias against black-based music in the community.

"Punk music has brought out extra white supremacists into the building, you have EDM music which has brought out, statistically more sex crimes happen at EDM shows than any other show. But you continue to have those at your establishment,” says Crum.

The Waiting Room declined interview requests and would not give a statement to 3 News Now.

But the owner told the Omaha World Herald that rap isn't the problem. Instead, it's the uncertainty of mixing fans of different rappers, during a competitive showcase. Which was held the night 23-year-old Michael Rowell was murdered.

"To say because you guys are competitive that equates to somebody getting killed is not a rational decision at all,” says Crum.

J. Crum is now moving on.

"We got to stop begging for a spot at places that we're not wanted and start creating places on our own,” says Crum.

One of the spots that could benefit from the waiting room's move is Culxr House in North Omaha, which is a mixed use arts building that has been hosting rap shows since March.

Owner Marcey Yates says it's unfortunate the Waiting Room is no longer hosting rap, but they welcome it.

"It's nothing to really hang your head or anything, it's just unfortunate, it's just what happened, but for me, I'm like that's going to be more business for us,” says Yates.

"That's a place that supports hip-hop, supports hip-hop shows all the time, brings in touring acts, supports local hip-hop,” says Crum.

Whether local rappers go to Culxr House, eventually return to places like the Waiting Room, or find somewhere else, artists like J. Crum say the music is vital for Omaha.

"The good that hip-hop has done for our community is being over-looked, I know people who say, who have told me, local hip-hop has literally saved their life,” says Crum.