Investigation Launched After Music Video Filmed at City of Albany Gym Hits YouTube
ALBANY, N.Y. -- An amateur music video, shot at the city-owned Quail Street Boxing Gym, left city officials shocked, and the backlash has left the artists in the same state.
While cousins Darnell "Nells" McLaughlin and Joe "BWay" Bell acknowledge the video is not for everyone, they say it was made to honor local champion boxer Tony Marshall.
The video, published July 4 on YouTube, had city officials doing a double take.
"My first concern was, who gave permission to use the building?" asked Albany Common Counselor Ron Bailey.
"I thought it was very offensive. Whether it was a city facility or anywhere, I did not think that type of language should be used," said Albany Common Counselor Jack Flynn.
It's that reputation city leaders say they're trying to protect.
"Obviously, right now it's getting some negative connotations but if you come down here and see it is a really great community-oriented facility," said Flynn.
McLaughlin says it ended with Marshall suspended from his job, and an investigation into the incident.
"We were very surprised. Reason being, we went through the proper channels that we knew of to actually get permission to do the video. There's nothing renegade about it. We contacted the people in the gym. they gave us permission, said do what you will." "They gave us an open door opportunity."
McLaughlin and Bell said had they known there was further permission required, they would have gone through the proper steps. To the Albany locals, the outrage seems misplaced.
"No guns were in the video. Nothing violent. Nobody got shot, stabbed, or anything. I'm from a community where this happens every day. Why is a video that doesn't portray any of this stuff is taking away time that we can be discussing people getting shot?"
While the video has been much discussed, the artists say no one from the city has discussed it with them.
Watch an extended interview here with the two men at the center of the controversy: