NORFOLK, Va. — Pharrell Williams addressed the recent crackdown on Downtown Norfolk businesses in an interview Tuesday morning at his Mighty Dream Forum, a three-day business forum focused on developing the local economy.
Pharrell was available to answer reporters' questions at the start of the event. 13News Now reporter Alex Littlehales was there, and captured the moment Pharrell weighed in on what's been happening in the city in the second half of 2022.
“I heard the way some officials spoke, regarding some places of business for African American-owned clubs," he said. "Wasn’t cool, I don’t like it, I don’t think it’s fair."
Since August, the city has been cracking down on restaurant permit violations to try to curb crime in the area. The city made some changes after four people were shot outside Legacy Restaurant & Lounge.
California Burrito, Scotty Quixx, Legacy Restaurant & Lounge, Culture Lounge & Restaurant and SLOWdive have all faced permit challenges this fall. The city’s planning commission actually just voted to renew SLOWdive’s Conditional Use Permit, which allows them to serve alcohol.
"If they really had a problem, and really cared about helping, they’d talk to these people and educate them, and say ‘this isn’t going to fly,'" Pharrell said.
His forum, which runs Nov. 1-3, is about reinvigorating local businesses through diversity and giving a voice to minority entrepreneurs.