Just months after their 14-year anniversary,the trio DJ collective known as The Freedom Party have gone their separate ways.
The announcement was made by DJ Cosi last week, but was shared with more detail by writer-author Kevin Powell on Monday (Nov. 6). Founded in 2003, Cosi, DJ Marc Smooth and Herbert Holler helped shape NYC’s next wave of nightlife with brands like Nike, The Gap, Brooks Brothers, MOMA, Hugo Boss, Timberland as well as publications like VIBE, The Fader and shows like The Chris Rock Show.
Pushed as a liberation of blackness and hip-hop culture, the group expanded their vision with the addition of a Chicago chapter in 2011.
Despite the success the DJ’s have experienced, Powell shared how Holler has reportedly tried to erase Cosi and Smooth out of the business spectrum. “It has come to the attention of many that Herbert, a White brother, is publicly and privately cutting out of the business Marc and Cosi, two men of color, claiming he owns everything, including the trademark,” he said.
“It is bad karma, it is shameful, and it is shameless, to me. And I am saying to all out there with a soul and a heart for democracy and fairness and justice please do not support anything called The Freedom Party in the night-life club world until this is resolved in a way that is just for all three, not just Herbert.”
A statement was made on Smooth’s Instagram, where he and Cosi also pointed the finger at Herbert’s business demands. It was also echoed on the group’s website.
“After over 14 years, we regret to inform you that The Freedom Party is suspended indefinitely. Unfortunately, we are in a dispute with our long-time partner, DJ Herbert Holler, due to his increasingly unreasonable demands. Until these matters are resolved, any future events using The Freedom Party name and logo are not authorized by us,” the statement reads.
“Despite our best efforts, we have been unsuccessful in coming to an agreement on business terms that are fair to all three founding and equal partners of The Freedom Party. We are a group of three New York deejays – DJ Cosi, Herbert Holler and Marc Smooth – that together, in equal parts, created, produced and ran The Freedom Party from its very beginning and brought you the experience you came to know and love as the longest running, weekly dance party in NYC history. We refuse to compromise the spirit of partnership that brought us together in the first place. Whether on the dance floor or in the deejay booth, there are no superstars at Freedom.”
It’s unclear wether future events at New York City’s Irving Plaza or in Chicago have been canceled or not.