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'Disgusting' rocker McKnight isn't fit for Artscape

As a Baltimore City resident, I have enjoyed attending the Artscape Festival every year. Each year it's been a wonderful and fun family event where I can take my children and they can enjoy the food, craft booths, kids' activities and music.

This year, however, something has come up that concerns me and threatens my ability to enjoy this event with my children. Recently it was announced that Brian McKnight, a popular R&B artist, would headline this year's festival, performing on the main stage July 20.

I have to imagine that the event's organizers and those responsible for booking musical talent were aware of the recent controversy over Mr. McKnight's disgusting music, which makes me wonder all the more why anyone would think he is appropriate as a headliner for a family event.

A week ago, Mr. McKnight released a new song with X-rated, sexually explicit and downright filthy lyrics called "If You're Ready to Learn." I won't repeat the lyrics here, but the entire song was focused on sex and it created such a furor he had to remove it from his website and Twitter feed.

Clearly he hasn't learned his lesson, as more recent news say he has produced and recorded an "anthem" at the request of an online pornography video site, supposedly as a "thank you" for promoting his previously mentioned disgusting song. This new song is even worse.

Why in the world anyone would think this man to be an appropriate musical act for a wonderful family event like Artscape is beyond me, but it's clear that it is absolutely irresponsible and unacceptable for Artscape's organizers to retain Brian McKnight's "talents" in any way.

Unless he is removed from the festival line-up, my family and I will not be attending Artscape 2012 and I will be advising everyone I know to do the same.

Brad Smith

Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun
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