University of the Streets Owner Addresses Brawl That Led to Boycott

Kirk-Jones Quintet Street UniversityDan Glass Saxophonist Darius Jones and Kirk Knuffke on cornet lead the Kirk-Jones Quintet during a less controversial performance at the University of the Streets.

The executive director of University of the Streets has broken her silence regarding a brawl that occurred at her long-standing Seventh Street venue earlier this month. According to Saadia Salahuddeen, the scuffle stemmed from a dispute over $50 that she said the band, Talibam!, owed the University because no one showed up for its show.

That’s when things got heated, according to a statement by Ms. Salahuddeen posted on the University’s Facebook page. A member of Talibam!, Kevin Shea, allegedly said to her, “You think we’re acting crazy? I am crazy — let’s get crazy.” He then allegedly lunged at Ms. Salahuddeen, leading to the fisticuffs.

The brawl, reported first on Brooklyn Vegan, spurred a barrage of online trash talk and even a boycott of the University (at least on Facebook). Commenters expressed particular outrage at a picture of Mr. Shea’s bruised and stitched face, and some even suggested suing the venue.

In an e-mail to The Local, Ms. Salahuddeen said she was “extremely apologetic for this incident.” She wrote, “I’m sorry that Kevin Shea was injured…I’m sorry that the Muhammad Salahuddeen Memorial Jazz Theatre, my late husband’s legacy, was (and) is disgraced by the continuing hateful behavior.”

She noted that the popularity of the boycott movement was somewhat ironic, given the allegedly poor turnout at the Talibam! show.

“Why couldn’t they conjure up a little more support for each other when it came to attending each others’ concerts?” she wrote.