Police crack down on Kanye West video events in Houston while Austin screenings proceed
UPDATE: Rothko Chapel executive director Emilee Dawn Whitehurst confirmed that the non-denominational institution had no prior knowledge of the event, but would have been happy to collaborate with West were they contacted in advance.
Kanye West had big plans all across Texas this Memorial Day weekend . . . they just didn't happen in Houston or San Antonio.
In recent weeks, fans from Amsterdam to Atlanta gathered to watch "New Slaves," a politically-charged attack on the U.S. prison-industrial complex. While few issues have been reported, Texas law enforcement was quick to shutter the organized screenings before they could start.
While Rothko officials were unable to be reached, HPD spokesperson Kese Smith told CultureMap that a sergeant working an approved security job for the Rothko that evening noticed a growing crowd. He quickly contacted the Chapel director, who was unaware of the event and requested to have the spectators removed from the property. No audio or visual equipment was spotted at the scene.
According to Texas hip hop blog Day and a Dream, the downtown library screening ended with "technical difficulties" after a police visit, while the Bush Monument saw only a large and disappointed crowd.
A Sunday event planned for the side of the Alamo was shut down by San Antonio police, who told KHOU that organizers failed to secure proper permits. Two other San Antonio screenings were canceled as well.
The Texas Nationalist Movement — a right-leaning secessionist organization often criticized for racial and religious prejudice — led a campaign to stop the Alamo event with phone calls to the city and a small collection of onsite protestors. On Monday, the group claimed a victory against West, calling the hip hop artist a "lip-sync mogul" and the event a mere "publicity stunt."
Meanwhile, a pair of screenings in Austin at the LBJ Library and the South Congress Bat Bridge appear to have gone off without a hitch. Watch the LBJ projection below.