Sunday, February 10, 2002

OJ appearance billed as 'healing'


Former NFL star at hip-hop concert to promote peace

By Jim Hannah
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        O.J. Simpson's scheduled appearance next month at Music Hall is being billed as a “healing” event for Over-the-Rhine, a neighborhood rocked by April's riots.

        “O.J. is promoting peace,” said promoter Anthony Pierre of Mactone Investments, based in Clifton. “He is coming to Cincinnati to show there can be change. There hasn't been a hip-hop concert at Music Hall in more than a decade.”

        Mr. Simpson, who was at the center of one of the most sensational murder trials in U.S. history, will toss autographed footballs to concertgoers, tell a few jokes and introduce the headline acts, rap artists Foxy Brown and Juvenile.

        Little Ronnie, a Florida rap artist, will debut the song “In The Mind of O.J.” at the March 2 show.

        As of Saturday evening, Mr. Pierre said he had received no complaints about Mr. Simpson's scheduled appearance.

        “O.J. is appearing at a hip-hop concert because he feels like the hip-hop community was among his biggest supporters during the trial,” Mr. Pierre said.

        “He feels like this is his way to give back to the hip-hop community.”

        Mr. Pierre said the hip-hop artists supported Mr. Simpson by purchasing some of his auctioned assets and returning them to the former National Football League star.

        Mr. Simpson, who now lives in a Miami suburb, has appeared at two hip-hop concerts within the past six months:

        • In August, at Estero, Fla.

        • On New Year's Eve, at East Hartford, Conn.

        In East Hartford, the city's former mayor urged lawmakers to ban the concert. City building inspectors slapped code violations on the venue and nearby residents protested the show.

        The show went on as scheduled but lost money when building inspectors wouldn't allow more than 350 concertgoers into the venue, which seats 800.

        Music Hall, which seats 3,400, was rented to Mactone Investments several weeks ago, the venue's operators, Cincinnati Arts Association, confirmed Saturday. “It wouldn't be appropriate for us to comment on Mactone's show,” said Steve Loftin, president and executive director of the art association.

        “We only rent the hall.”

        Mr. Loftin said he didn't know how many tickets had been sold for the concert.

        Mr. Simpson was acquitted in 1995 of the murders of his former wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and her acquaintance, Ronald Goldman.

        Mr. Simpson was later found liable in a wrongful-death civil lawsuit.
        Concert tickets are are $31, $41 and $51 at Ticketmaster outlets by calling 241-7469 or go online at www.ticketmaster.com. Tickets can also be purchased at the Music Hall box office, 1243 Elm St., Over-the—Rhine.
       

       



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