Soulja Boy’s absence surprise to USG


Kent State informs students in line for the closing portion of Flashfest 2019 that Soulja Boy will be unable to perform. Thursday, April 11, 2019.

Henry Palattella

When Young Thug came on stage to conclude FlashFest 2019, it was the final act of what had been a day filled with performances. There was one noticeable omission from the day’s acts, however. 

Soulja Boy.

At 6:42 p.m. on Thursday, Kent State USG tweeted that Soulja Boy, a co-headliner with Young Thug for FlashFest 2019, would not be performing. 

Thirty-four minutes later, TMZ posted a story that he was being held in jail in Los Angeles without bail due to a probation violation.

For MacKenzie Michalojko, the director of programming for USG, Soulja Boy’s absence meant that USG had to find a replacement — fast.

“I don’t remember exactly what time we found out but it happened during the middle of the outside events,” she said. “When we found out it obviously took us aback, he hadn’t told us he had a court date … We got an email in the morning saying he was coming, and everything was good.”

Michalojko and USG wanted to inform the public immediately, but they also needed to figure out what to do with the now vacant spot in the setlist. DJ Topgun was still set as the opener while Young Thug was still good to finish the show, they just needed someone to fill in the middle.

“It took a while for us to think because to get another artist here last minute would be asking a lot,” Michalojko said. “Plus, we’d probably have to pay them more than we wanted.”

In the end, USG came up with the idea of giving DJ Pauly D another set inside the M.A.C. Center. Upon his arrival to Kent USG’s agent spoke with Pauly D’s agent and an agreement was put in place. Around 7:15 Pauly D finished up his set, walking off stage next to his bouncer who had a Kent State tank top slung over his shoulder. A little more than two hours later Pauly D jumped on stage in the M.A.C. Center in that tank top, putting on an almost hour-long set.

“A lot of people asked why we didn’t say anything immediately,” Michalojko said. We had to formulate a way to fix the problem. Of course, people were going to be upset, we were upset too. We couldn’t just throw it out there and not be prepared to answer questions.”

Soulja Boy, who was not paid for the event, has been on probation since 2014 stemming from a weapons case.

Refunds will be available for those who didn’t attend the concert on Monday at the M.A.C. Center box office. Refunds will only be avaliable to those people whose tickets weren’t scanned through the system on Thursday.

Henry Palattella is the sports editor. Contact him at [email protected].