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DC R&B Artist Arrested at Houston Airport

by Winston "Stone" Ford

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WaynaBilly Club

I woke up yesterday morning to some startling news. DC R&B artist Wayna was arrested at the Houston airport for carrying a stage prop that she uses in her song “Billy Club,” off of her album Higher Ground in her carry-on baggage. She was in Texas for a host of shows at SXSW and was on her way to the Winter Music Conference in Miami. Ironically, the song which the prop is for deals with police brutality (in which the Houston police said “Karma is a bitch.”). Wayna was held for 12 hours in jail and released on $5,000 bond.

Our thoughts and prayers are with Wayna and her family.

Full press release from her manager Fiona Bloom after the jump.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE- Contact: Fiona Bloom fiona@thebloomeffect.com 646-764-0004

March 26th, 2009

Response to Grammy Nominated DC-Based Artist Wayna’s
Recent Arrest at Houston Airport

This statement clarifies recent reports that police arrested Ethiopian-born /D.C-based artist Wayna at the Houston Airport on Wednesday, March 25th. Wayna had just completed a mini-tour of Texas including a stop at one of the biggest music festivals in the world, South by South West (SXSW), and was en route to Miami to perform and attend the Winter Music Conference on the morning of Wednesday, March 25th. As she attempted to go through security, she was questioned by airport security about the prop that she uses on stage to perform a song about police brutality called “Billy Club” off of her critically-acclaimed sophomore album Higher Ground. The item had been inadvertently packed in her carry on bag. Despite explaining to security that she was a performer and that she had traveled throughout the country without incident with the prop usually packed in checked luggage; and that she had no intention to use it as a weapon, she was nonetheless arrested and charged on a 3rd degree felony weapons charge. She was released early Thursday morning on $5,000 bail.

Wayna, a singer-songwriter who hailed from the DC urban soul underground scene and who regularly infuses socially conscious, political and empowering lyrics in her music, was recently nominated for a 2009 Grammy in Best Urban/Alternative category for a remake of Minnie Riperton’s Loving You. The University of Maryland alumnus has tackled other controversial topics such as domestic violence. Her song My Love, debuted at # 2 and #18 on the Billboard Hot R&B/Hip Hop Singles and Hot Singles Sales chart respectively. The video for the song received nearly a quarter million plays on YouTube and MySpace video combined and very timely given the elevated interest in domestic violence awareness. Wayna worked as a writer in the White House Office of Presidential Letters and Messages during Clinton’s tenure before launching her music career full time. She has performed on national stages around the globe and has received critical acclaim from Essence, Billboard.com, OkayPlayer.com and Stevie Wonder and other outlets .

Wayna wishes to thank her friends, fans, family and everyone who have supported her throughout her career. Spending over 12 hours in jail has been exhausting and challenging for her especially given the irony of the situation. She has never been arrested nor has any criminal history. She relays that the experience has given her new and personal perspective to some of themes and messages she relays and portrays in her music.