Friends of Pharrell say likely many reasons he wrote a letter to the city; Mayor now wants to talk

Pharrell Williams
Posted at 4:20 PM, Oct 11, 2021
and last updated 2021-10-11 19:57:33-04

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. - News 3 is continuing to investigate why Pharrell Williams wrote a letter expressing his disappointment with leadership in the city of Virginia Beach after organizers announced the Something in the Water Festival will not happen in 2022 in the city.

Mayor Bobby Dyer told News 3 Monday that he is hoping to have a face-to-face conversation with Pharrell in the near future.

He said he wants to get Pharrell’s perception, thoughts and to hear more about his specific concerns.

Mayor Dyer said he believes the city has made progress over the last seven to 10 years and thinks Pharrell may not be aware of some of the things they have done.

Dyer said he wants to meet with him to share thoughts and talk about the future of the city.

Last week, two letters were exchanged publicly between the city manager and Pharrell.

Click here to view the letter from the city manager and click here to view the letter from Pharrell.

Pharrell stated there is "toxic energy" in city leadership -- referenced the city's responses to the municipal building mass shooting in 2019 and the killing of his cousin -- Donovon Lynch at the Oceanfront in March 2021. Lynch was shot by a police officer and now Pharrell is saying the city "changed the narrative" around the circumstances of Lynch's killing.

Over the weekend, News 3 reported that Virginia Beach businessman Bruce Thompson recently turned down a plan for Pharrell to hold an event at the Cavalier Hotel featuring comedian Dave Chappelle. He said Chappelle’s material is not appropriate for a family environment and that the event should not be outside on the lawn but rather inside.

Monday, friends of Pharrell told News 3 there were likely many different situations that lead up to Pharrell writing the letter. They said he wouldn’t make that decision lightly and say his letter speaks volumes. They said let’s hope the city finally listens.

Back in April, Pharrell spoke at his cousin's eulogy where he called for change while paying tribute to his cousin.

He said, “Virginia Beach you need to talk. You need to talk about your issues, talk about your struggles so we can get past them….. We must do better and we can do better. We need to put each other on notice not to tear each other down but to build each other up so that we can be effective so that we can win.”

Related: What does not having Something in the Water Festival mean for the resort city?