Being handcuffed and transported to a local police station probably wasn't on 50 Cent's (born Curtis Jackson) to do list when he landed at Robert L. Bradshaw International Airport in St. Kitts on Saturday afternoon but that's what happened following his performance on the eastern Caribbean island.
The Queens rapper was arrested and formally charged with using indecent language early Sunday morning, June 26, immediately following a short set during the 20th annual St. Kitts Music Festival, held June 23-25th, at Warner Park Stadium in the capital city Basseterre. Located in the eastern Caribbean archipelago, St. Kitts is the larger island in the Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis; under the country's Small Charges Act, a law enacted in 15 Caribbean nations, it is a misdemeanor offense to use profane words in public.
In an interview with Billboard yesterday morning (June 27) aboard a flight from St. Kitts to Miami, one of Jackson's consultants who identified himself as Rocky said a contingent of 10-15 police entered Jackson's dressing room backstage at Warner Park to arrest the rapper along with bodyguard Bajar Walter. Reports from the island's local media claim Jackson was cooperative with police but Walter, charged with making use of indecent language as well as obstruction, attempted to interfere with the authorities' arrest of Jackson.
50 Cent arrived in St. Kitts at about 3:00 PM on Saturday, June 25th. Rocky, who represented the rapper at the festival's Saturday morning press conference held at the Frigate Bay Marriott Hotel, tells Billboard that Jackson was booked solely as a host for the festival's Saturday night, not as a featured act; upon his arrival on the island festival organizers asked him to perform and he obliged. However posters, radio advertisements and other promotional materials including press releases issued to the media several weeks ahead of the festival listed 50 Cent as a headlining act presented by Effen Vodka, the Dutch brand for which he is a spokesman and minority shareholder.
Rocky says the rapper's contract with the festival did not include a non-cursing clause. "It was only when he was about to go onstage that the police commissioner told him he couldn't say f%*k, he didn't mention that he couldn't use any other curse words, so I guess it was ok to say bitches, hoes, whatever — but just don't say f%*k," Rocky explained.
50 Cent's set, the festival's finale, began with DJ Jah Lion Sound spinning dancehall reggae hits. The rapper strode on stage to deafening screams from young women in the audience whose excitement occasionally threatened to topple the barriers between the audience and the press pit. Smiling throughout his 25-minute performance, 50 delivered numerous expletive littered tunes — but when he boasted "I'm a mother%*king P.I.M.P.," authorities prepared to move in.
Jackson and Walter were taken to the Basseterre police station and held for approximately three hours. The Royal St. Christopher and Nevis Police Force posted on its Facebook page that Jackson and Walter were granted bail in the amount of $5,000.00 Eastern Caribbean dollars (approximately $1,820) and ordered to surrender their travel documents. According to Rocky both Jackson and Walter were required to secure the services of locally based attorneys prior to their appearance in court, at approximately 5 a.m., for a rare Sunday morning appearance. Jackson and Walter were tried and pled guilty to the use of indecent language charges; the second charge of obstruction against Walter was dropped. They paid fines of nearly $1,100 each before their release and the return of their documents.
The organizers of the St. Kitts Music Festival, a government-funded and private sector sponsored event told Billboard they had no comment on the incident.
Fiddy's St. Kitts itinerary undoubtedly featured one profoundly unwelcome stop, but it also brought a flurry of international media attention to the hip-hop veteran, actor and entrepreneur — and to the festival that instigated the ordeal. "We just want people to know we ain't mad about this, we all had a good time," noted Rocky. "50 enjoyed it so much he decided to stay longer and go to Nevis today (Monday, June 27) and we would come back and perform in St. Kitts again anytime they would like to have us back."