Pharrell Williams Won’t Bring Something In The Water Festival Back To Virginia Beach, Cites City’s ‘Toxic Energy’ & Handling Of His Cousin’s Police-Involved Killing

Pharrell Williams Won’t Bring Something In The Water Festival Back To Virginia Beach, Cites City’s ‘Toxic Energy’ & Handling Of His Cousin’s Police-Involved Killing

Pharrell Williams is slamming his hometown’s negative energy and calling out its leadership!

As you may recall, Pharrell Williams partnered with Virginia Beach back in 2019 to launch a festival in the city, dubbed Something in the Water. The event was a music and culture fest that occurred over a three-day period in late April, locally known as College Beach Weekend and popularly attended by HBCU students from surrounding areas.

While the 2019 event was largely regarded as a success, the festival reportedly will not be returning to Virginia Beach in 2022. Pharrell Williams recently revealed that he would not bring the event back to his hometown due to how Virginia Beach handled the murder of his cousin, Donovon Lynch.

Back in late March, Pharrell‘s 25-year-old cousin Donovon Lynch was shot to death by a police officer in Virginia Beach. During a press conference on the matter, the chief of police stated:

“The officer was wearing a bodycam, but for unknown reasons at this point in time, it was not activated. I do not have the answers that the community is looking for in regards to this death right now.”

Pharrell’s cousin, Donovon Lynch

Because of how the city handled the matter, Pharrell indicated he would not bring Something in the Water back to his hometown. Once the Virginia Beach City Manager, Patrick Duhaney, heard about Pharrell‘s plans to not bring the festival back, he issued a letter to the star. He initially asked to meet with him, writing:

“Before any final decisions are made, the Mayor and I would like to fully understand the sentiment that has brought us to this point. With great humility we hope that you and Festival leadership might be willing to meet with us in person to discuss our partnership.”

Patrick Duhaney continued, citing the benefits the event brought to Virginia Beach:

“Something in the Water made an enormous impact on Virginia Beach and catapulted the city into the national and international spotlight. Positive messages of inclusivity and togetherness were heard, seen and–most importantly–felt.

Furthermore, the city experienced record-breaking economic success. Analysis shows the inaugural event had an immediate total economic impact of over $24 million on both Virginia Beach and the surrounding region. Media coverage stemming from the event had an estimated value of approximately $41 million dollars.

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.”

Yesterday (Tuesday, Oct. 5th), Pharrell Williams responded, citing his cousin’s murder and the city’s “toxic energy” as factors in his decision:

“When we did the festival, it was to ease racial tension, to unify the region, bring about economic development opportunities and broaden the horizons of the local business community. We achieved those things! 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. I love my city, but for far too long it has been run by and with toxic energy.”

Pharrell has not publicly commented on the matter, and it’s unclear if Something in the Water will return in a different city next year.

What do you think about the situation? Comment down below to let us know!


Authored by: Nick Fenley