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NEW YORK — Jailed rapper Foxy Brown has been in solitary confinement since Oct. 16, but the artist’s manager, Chaz Williams, says the entire ordeal is just a misunderstanding mainly due to her hearing impairment.
Brown, born Inga Marchand, was sentenced to 76 days of “punitive segregation” after committing three violations at Rikers Island this month. According to reports, the first incident occurred on Oct. 3, when Brown and another inmate allegedly engaged in a shoving match on their way to the dining hall. The next day, Brown was verbally abusive to a corrections officer and refused to take a drug test.
The Department of Corrections at the Rose M. Singer facility, where Brown has been jailed since Aug. 22, reviewed the cases and sentenced her to solitary confinement. Brown spends 23 hours alone in her cell and is allowed one hour each day to see visitors, meet with attorneys and engage in recreational activities.
But according to Williams, some of the allegations aren’t entirely true. “There was an incident where a girl attempted to confront her and she stood her ground, but there wasn’t any contact. Words were exchanged, and that was it,” he said.
Williams says the drug-test flap can be chalked up to Brown’s hearing difficulties. “Really she didn’t hear the request,” he said. “She has a battery-operated device, and sometimes it dies out.” By the time Brown came to understand what she was being asked, the officials told her it was too late and that their decision to take further disciplinary action was already made, Williams said.
The infractions don’t include her recent late arrivals to a Brooklyn court. According to reports, Brown refused to leave her cell until she was done changing outfits and applying makeup, which caused her to miss her first court hearing. Later that day, she refused to get on the transportation bus again because she wanted to eat lunch first. Williams says this is yet another incident in which Brown’s lack of hearing was mistaken for rebellion.
Williams told Billboard.com that on Sunday Brown received a visit from councilmember Charles Barron, who placed a call to the commissioner explaining Brown’s hearing impairment and to request she be taken out of punitive segregation. A medical team was sent to examine Brown’s health, which confirmed that she indeed has a serious hearing problem. The investigation is still underway.
Brown was sentenced on Sept. 8 to a year in jail for violating her probation after several arrests, including an altercation with two nail salon employees in August 2004 and assaulting a neighbor with a BlackBerry cell phone.
In December 2005, Brown announced she was diagnosed with sudden hearing loss, but after a series of treatments, her condition improved enough to allow her to continue recording. The former Def Jam artist recently left the label to sign with indie label Koch Records. She is scheduled to release a new album, “Brooklyn’s Don Diva,” Nov. 20 through her Black Rose Entertainment company.
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