A local musician recently released a music video with a message, he says, to encourage young people to vote. Divine Mafa's latest video depicts President Obama being shot on the balcony of the Lorraine Motel in Memphis.
The National Civil Rights Museum says they did not authorize this and find it distasteful.
"I know he's referring to it as art but it's certainly distasteful art considering what actually happened here and considering the person who actually was killed here on the balcony was really a leader of non-violence," says Museum President Beverly Robertson.
While Divine Mafa says he was initially given permission to shoot the video on the balcony and later denied, the National Civil Rights Museum says he was denied from the very beginning.
"Back in May, Mr. Mafa had contacted the staff of the National Civil Rights Museum and of course they had asked him a series of questions and he could not respond comprehensively so we denied him access to the balcony," says Robertson.
There are no security cameras outside by the balcony, but the museum says they do have 24-hour security and are not sure when Mafa and his crew shot the video. Mafa says they shot the video while the museum was open Saturday morning.
"I don't know what time he would've done that, I mean I have no idea, but we do have 24 hour security here," says Robertson. "I know they can't see everything every moment of the day or every second of the night but we just need to make sure there is frequency in the way they circulate around the property."
Robertson says they are easy people to work with at the museum and have given access of the balcony to video crews in the past.
"As long as you are legitimate, as long as you answer our questions, we don't mind allowing legitimate people who produce documentaries that are tasteful," she says, "Now we'll deny it if it is distasteful to the staff. Too many people sacrificed blood and died so that this institution could exist, so that's the least we can do as stewards of this great history.
Mafa says he's willing to donate $10,000 to the museum for use of the balcony.
WHBQ-TV | Fox 13
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