In a strange turn of events, Oklahoma City-based hip hop performer Jabee Williams was booted off of KSBI’s “Oklahoma Live!” set Monday morning.
According to a statement issued Monday afternoon, Williams, 30, and his backing band were loading equipment when executive producer Ted Maguire met with Williams in KSBI’s studio.
Jabee was told there was an oversight and his band needed to leave. When pressed for more information about the oversight, Maguire said he had not realized Jabee was a hip-hop act and the station was moving in a different direction with its music guests.
“It was a blatant form of discrimination,” Williams shared in a Facebook post. “We were treated and talked to so rudely that we thought it was a joke.”
Williams and his band left without performing or getting interviewed about his recent local Emmy win.
Read Williams’ full press statement here:
Jabee was slated to play today and have it air 4 as part of Oklahoma Live. The whole band had been there for about 30 minutes ready to load in all of their equipment, and Jabee and I went to sign in at the office to go into the studio. We sign in, are lead to the studio and the exec producer Ted Maguire comes in and asks to speak to Jabee.
The whole band is set up and ready to go. Ted Maguire says, verbatim, 'Hi Jabee. There’s been an oversight, and I need you to leave.'
We all thought he was joking. We asked if he was serious and he said “if you need help, we can help you load your stuff.” Jabee asked if they were expecting a country act, and he said 'honestly, yes. Upon seeing you, we realized there was an oversight.'
When we asked what exactly the oversight was, he said he had not realized Jabee was not a country act. He said the station is moving in a new direction and could not have him on the show. I asked when the station started moving in this new direction and he said he’d been there for about 8 months and that it has been in the works for a while.
I asked if Jabee was still going to have an interview about his new Emmy and an event coming up, and he said ‘that’s going to be canceled as well.’No offer to reschedule. We were just asked to leave immediately. He even said he would stay and wait for us to get all of our things out and watched us all load out.
KSBI President and CEO Vince Orza released a statement to The Oklahoman Monday afternoon.
According to the statement, William’s performance was canceled by mistake. “Oklahoma Live!” doesn’t typically feature rap or heavy metal although Jabee has appeared on “Oklahoma Live!” twice. Most recently he performed in 2013. Orza was at a hospital when the scheduling incident occurred Monday morning and didn’t hear about the scheduling mistake until Monday afternoon. He has since apologized and noted that Williams shouldn’t have been asked to leave.
“Jabee should have been allowed to perform. He is a professional, who showed up on time, ready to entertain our audience as he has in the past,” Orza said in a statement. “I wanted him to hear directly from me that he is welcome to perform on ‘Oklahoma Live!’ and KSBI. I apologized to him, and he very graciously thanked me for calling.”
You can read the full statement from KSBI here:
Earlier today Monday July 21, 2014, a decision by a KSBI employee cancelling a performance on short notice inadvertently resulted in insulting Oklahoma’s award winning musical artist Jabee. He had been scheduled to perform on KSBI’s daily lifestyle program ‘Oklahoma Live!’.
Jabee arrived at KSBI on time ready to perform as he had on multiple occasions in the past. The decision to cancel Jabee’s performance was incorrect. ‘Oklahoma Live!’ typically doesn’t feature rap, heavy metal or similar types of musical guests to perform. However, Jabee had been a guest on ‘Oklahoma Live!’ several times in the past.
KSBI President and CEO Vince Orza was at the hospital at the time and when he learned of the mistake a few hours later he placed a personal call to Jabee to apologize to the artist. Since the scheduling error was KSBI’s not Jabee’s, he should have been allowed to perform.
'Jabee should have been allowed to perform. He is a professional, who showed up on time, ready to entertain our audience as he has in the past. I wanted him to hear directly from me, that he is welcome to perform on ‘Oklahoma Live!’ and KSBI. I apologized to him and he very graciously thanked me for calling.
We spoke for several minutes and I extended the personal invitation to him to be with us anytime he wanted, hopefully sooner rather than later,' Orza said.