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Swearing on stage is not allowed in St. Kitts. Although hip-hop is known for its profanity, it is nonetheless expected that rappers keep it clean on the Caribbean island. That is why last weekend, 50 Cent was arrested after an impromptu performance before 40,000 people.
In the immortal words of his representative, "The show was a great success and he will make sure for future trips to St. Kitts that he leaves the "motherf*****s" in the United States." The following is a cautionary tale about small charges and doing favors, as reported by the New York Daily News.
Swearing in public is a misdemeanor in St. Kitts. It is punishable with jail and fines, and the offense is listed in the island's Small Charges Act.
Note that 50 Cent, officially known as Curtis Brown, is not the first American star to fail to comply with the code and rap appropriately. In 2003, the rapper DMX was fined $376 for a similar offense.
In the U.S., there are also prohibitions on public profanity that disturb the peace. For example, you can't shout swears out a car window or other such acts that mar general tranquility. But tranquility is a relative concept and peace is surely more easily disturbed in St. Kitts than in New York City, say.
With 50 Cent making so much noise on social media and in court about being broke, even a minimal fine could sting. He is in bankruptcy proceedings.
Regardless, the legal matter in St. Kitts was reportedly resolved rapidly. The rapper went to court on Sunday, paid the fine (the amount was not specified in reports), and settled the public profanity case before flying home to the U.S.
What happened was that 50 Cent was doing a favor for the show's organizer, and performed impromptu, with no prior notice. He was not planning to rap at the event so neither he nor the DJ had considered the profanity prohibition -- he was just supposed to host.
But when asked to perform, 50 Cent complied, rhymed, and did what he does best. This graciousness got him arrested after the performance, proving once again that no good deed goes unpunished.
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