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The Fyre Festival Documentaries: Here’s What Shocked Me And What Didn’t Surprise Me At All

"These guys were intentionally, and fearlessly ,embezzling and defrauding tens of millions of dollars, and somehow only got six years in prison ..."

Did anyone see the documentaries that illustrated the epitome of white privilege and injustice? I’m talking about FyreFraud (Hulu) and FyreFraud: The Greatest Party that Never Happened (Netflix). Holy s**t. The lack of accountability for white men, and the lies we tell ourselves to justify their actions is simply shocking.

My wife and I were watching with a mixed look of confusion and disgust, because in one notion, the documentaries exposed how white collar crimes are becoming ever more complex, covert and deceptive in the ecosystem that is social media. But in the other notion, the victims who worked and suffered for him are there, on the record and camera, unfazed at the prospect that Billy McFarland will one day get out of prison and “start another imaginative entrepreneurial venture.” Despite public knowledge that his sentence bars him for life from serving as a corporate officer and/or board member, we’ve already been told that he “started” a new business helping inmates access music and audio technology.

Where do we begin? To be honest, it’s a lot to recap because the scale and complexity of the fraud and “Zo Life” that Billy and his crew exhibited is indeed on another level. These guys were intentionally and fearlessly embezzling and defrauding tens of millions of dollars and somehow only got six years in prison and, in other cases, no jail time.

It already seems that Billy is setting the script for early release via good behavior. From day one, festival creators, production and digital marketing teams had full knowledge they were creating a “pipeline dream they can sell to the average loser.” A deceptive but pretty impressive digital/visual creative strategy that gripped rich, egotistical millennials.

Here is a list of the things that shocked me:

1. The level of neglect and lack of remorse for the island native’s lives they enslaved, and ruined in some cases.

2. The level of restraint and passive attitude of the people of Exuma and Great Exuma. A true testament to the regal and rich history and culture of The African Diaspora.

3. That Billy recorded every interaction that ultimately incriminated him in federal case of money laundering and fraud.

4. The fact no one was killed or hurt. What a recipe for disaster — terrain hazards, no utilities, bathrooms, food and $2,000,000 worth of liquor.

5. One of the event producers admitted he was asked by Billy and his team to perform oral sex on a Bahamian customs agent to release two tankers of Evian water (estimated value: $175,000).

6. That Carla did not see the red flags when unrealistic and impossible revenue generation ideas were thrown out on conference calls prior to being pot-committed.

7. That said event producer admitted he was willing to perform oral sex on a Bahamian customs agent to release two tankers of Evian water.

8. No one on the production (working or fired) side of the festival went to the media. They could have shut the whole thing down.

9. Billy, as one person, can walk into a party, meet someone for the first time and walk out with a check for $500,000. In what Wakanda do we need to exist for that to be a possibility?

10. The people attending the festival. Most of them appeared completely shallow, self-absorbed and self-entitled.

A list of things I was not shocked about:

1. That Billy only got six years.

2. That Grant H. Margolin and Daniel Simon did zero time, being equally as liable and scumbag.

3. The level of cooning Ja Rule did for Billy and other ordinary, mediocre white people who ultimately endangered the lives of thousands.

4. Despite there being landing pages, social media accounts created to expose Fyre Fraud and bands pulling out, people still decided to get on a plane.

5. That Billy decided to start scamming again when he got out on bail.

6. The fact Ja Rule kept calling Billy his best friend and brother repeatedly throughout the documentaries.

7. That Ja Rule verbally accosted women, sexual harassing them to get into the pool with no bikinis available.

8. How Bahamian government officials knew this thing would fail, but was still like, “Where’s my bag, tho?”

9. That most event staff was paid the day of the event, which incentivized them to try to complete the train wreck instead of manually taking it off the tracks.

10. The "white men can do anything" attitude and approach to throwing the greatest festival the world has ever seen — in six months.


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I'm an unapologetic Black man from Harlem. I worked in tech for the past 10 years, and currently run two ventures; Marketers of Tomorrow, a marketing outsourcing firm and Bitcoin Harlem, a community organization aimed at connecting cryptocurrency enthusiasts and investors..