50 Cent returning to Hawaii for a gig at Blaisdell
By Wayne Harada
Advertiser Entertainment Writer
By Wayne Harada
50 Cent, the controversial rapper whose violent past has often eclipsed his music, will return to Honolulu this month for a concert at Blaisdell Arena.
The gig, set for 7:30 p.m. March 28, also features local R&B singer Afatia, who will test his marketability in the blues and hip-hop mainstream. G Unit, a group in 50 Cent's recording stable, is also on bill.
50 Cent, whose real name is Curtis James Jackson III, previously performed at Blaisdell in 2003, after the release of his first album, "Get Rich or Die Tryin'." At the time, the brevity of his 45-minute-long set caused some complaints.
This time, said show presenter Misty Tufono of Tihati Productions, one of the partners promoting the show, 50 will concertize for an hour, minimum. At least, that's the plan.
Tihati, a producer of Polynesian and convention shows statewide, is making a foray into hip-hop and R&B to support the budding crossover career of Afatia Thompson — Tufono's kid brother and the son of Jack and Cha Thompson, who operate an entertainment company.
Afatia's debut CD, "5:54," released on the Tihati label, won a Na Hoku Hanohano Award last year as best R&B and hip-hop album. For this new venture, Tihati has formed 5:54 Entertainment, along with Afatia Thompson and Jack and Cha Thompson.
50 Cent, also an actor and an entrepreneur, was shot nine times in 2000, peddled drugs when he was 12, lost his mom at age 8 when she was murdered, and has served time in prison for drug and gun possession. His adopted name, he has said, is a metaphor for "change."
His G Unit Clothing Co. has expanded his reach into the hip-hop culture, and he has dipped into other productions, from condoms — to raise HIV awareness — to flavored vitamin water. He has been nominated for 13 Grammys, but never won the award; his "Curtis" CD was his last blockbuster.
Afatia, who has stakes in a more conventional "soft side" music bag — recording and performing with the Matt Catingub Orchestra of Hawai'i, for example — is making a bid into the R&B realm orchestrated by his business partner, 7 Kings, comprised of Mike Fetters, a retired Milwaukee Brewers pro-baseball player who is his producer and regularly invests in concert promotions with an industry partner, Miko Wady of Arizona, who produces hip-hop acts.
"I've worked long and hard on this, and I'm excited for this break," said Afatia, who hopes to break into Mainland music with his Polynesian pedigree. He will feature four backup wahine dancers and five or six male dancers, the latter bringing Polynesian elements to Afatia's act.
Reach Wayne Harada at email@example.com.