Pharrell Williams has announced that his Something in the Water Festival will not return to his hometown of Virginia Beach in 2022, following his cousin’s killing back in March.
In a letter to the Virginia City Manager Patrick Duhaney, Tuesday the singer said that he felt that the local government has “toxic energy,” pointing to the March death of his 25-year-old cousin Donovon Lynch. Lynch was shot and killed by a local police officer under disrupted circumstances per Pitchfork. The officer’s body camera was not on at the time of the fatal shooting.
“I love my city, but for far too long it has been run by and with toxic energy,” Williams said in the letter per WAVY. “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.”
Williams added: “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.”
The singer’s letter is in response to Duhaney’s Sept. 26 letter addressing the “immense disappointment” that the Something in the Water may not be held in 2022. The 2020 and 2021 festival was canceled due to COVID concerns but the 2019 festival made the city more than 20 million dollars, the local news outlet reports.
“As impressive as those figures are, they are just that — numbers. We have not lost sight of the intangible, unquantifiable impact the festival has had on the social fabric of our community,” Duhaney wrote.
Virginia Beach Mayor Bobby Dyer also responded to the cancellation of the festival hopeful that a resolution will be found soon.
“We’re disappointed that he’s feeling that way. Something in the Water was very, very big and positive for the City of Virginia Beach. Unfortunately last year with the COVID, we had to cancel it. But once again … the manager and I want to connect with Pharrell, sit down talk things out and that’s what we’re going to take. We are going to try to be positive about this and we are going to try to make a case that, you know, we are moving forward,” Dyer said.