By Ian Williams
NORFOLK, VA – The Hampton Roads Native and Grammy-winning music producer Pharrell Williams is introducing a three-day “Block Party” near Downtown Norfolk. The celebration will happen in the Neon District on November 1-3. This is the first time he has hosted an event in the area since his cousin, Donovon Lynch, was fatally shot by Virginia Beach police in March 2021.
Williams began giving back to the community where he started his career, by creating the Something in The Water Festival in 2019. The Virginia Pilot reported that an estimated 35,000 people migrated to the oceanfront to participate in this event.
“According to the city, the total economic impact of the festival in 2019 was $24.11m and was worth a lot more besides,” The Guardian reports.
The artist initially planned for the event to happen annually to unify the public and bring attention to the region.
Shortly after Lynch’s death, Williams voiced in a letter to the Virginia Beach City Manager, Patrick Duhaney, that he felt the justice system in the area was not fit for his cause of starting the celebration.
This resulted in Williams moving Something in The Water to Washington D.C. The officer was also not guilty.
For the upcoming Block Party, Williams is bringing awareness to his Mighty Dream Advocacy agency in partnership with Edelman, a marketing and communications business.
“Mighty Dream’s launch comes on the heels of Williams’ work with Black Ambition, which seeks to motivate structural change through representation in entrepreneurship and venture capital, doing so while shining a light on HBCUs,” according to Edelman’s website. “Mighty Dream has parallel ambitions in the world of creators, brands and policymakers.”.