Flint venue cancels MLK Day weekend party after viewing "appalli - ABC 12 – WJRT – Flint, MI

Flint venue cancels MLK Day weekend party after viewing "appalling" flyer

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FLINT (WJRT) -

(01/14/14) - It's safe to say a gold chain and gang sign are not what comes to mind when you think of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., but his picture was paired with both on a flyer for a teen, dance party scheduled for Saturday.

It's been canceled by the venue where the party was supposed to be held - The Social Network Event Center. 

"This is my place," said Vic McEwen.  "This is my name.  He (the promoter) did not allow us or our staff to view the advertisement which it specifically states in the contract.  That was my out."

McEwen, who said he had nothing to do with the flyers, refunded the money and voided the contract.

"My wife and I were getting threatening phone calls, Facebook messages, internet messages, texts with folks outraged," he said.

The event was pitched as a "Freedom 2 Twerk Martin Luther King Day" weekend party by a group identifying itself as Mid-Michigan Teen Parties.

ABC12 was unable to reach the promoter or person who came up with the concept, but others have plenty to say about it.

"It's disrespectful," said Flint resident Karen Morgan.  "It's not what he represents."

Benjamin Washington almost didn't believe what he was seeing when we showed him the flyer.

"That is not right," he said.  "No way."

McEwen, also a barber in Flint, said he was cutting hair Friday when he got an email and then text of the flyer.

"I saw the gang sign.  That was appalling," he said.  "The gold chain.  That was appalling.  This twerking term..."

McEwen said when he met with the promoter, "His exact words was (sic), 'I was trying to make my party grow.  I felt like this was the way to do it, to appeal to the youth of today.' I was appalled."

That's the same word King's daughter, Dr. Bernice King, used when she was interviewed by an Atlanta TV station.

"I lost a father who sacrificed everything for them to live a much more dignified and respectful life and for it to come to this," she said.  "This whole imagery thing is appalling."

McEwen has planned a free tribute event, Sunday, to celebrate King's life and legacy.

It will run from 2 - 6 p.m. at his business, The Social Network Event Center, located at 2709 W. Corunna Rd. in Flint.

Martin Luther King Jr. Day is Monday.
   

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