Mos Def was arrested last night during the MTV Video Music Awards after an impromptu performance outside of Radio City Music Hall. According to MTV News, the Brooklyn rapper pulled up to the venue at around 10 p.m. on a flatbed truck and began performing his politically charged “Katrina Klap” freestyle for the audience gathered outside. An NYPD spokesperson told MTV that officers approached Mos Def and asked him to stop the performance for safety reasons, however he continued to perform. According to the NYPD, it was not clear whether he ignored the order or simply refused to end the show.
MTV News also spoke with a source from Mos Def’s camp who said that the NYPD approached the rapper and his entourage and inquired about a permit for the performance. After being told that the group was in possession of a permit, they allowed the performance to continue, says the source. A short time later, several additional officers demanded that the show be stopped immediately. Apparently the order was not communicated to the rapper in a timely fashion, and he continued to perform. At that time, the NYPD began arresting members of his entourage. Carleen Donovan, Mos Def’s publicist, commented, “Mos Def was not out to break any laws. His only goal was to heighten the awareness of a serious situation that still exists in our country. He does not want people to forget that although it’s one year later, the people and cities hit by the hurricane still need the help of the American people.” The rapper was released this morning.