Controversy among Beale merchants regarding future of entertainment district

MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- Controversy over the future of Beale Street. Merchants are asking city leaders to take a closer look into how things are being handled on the entertainment strip. Some merchants going as far as to make accusations of unfairness.

"Memphis does have several problems with race and equality, this isn’t one of them," said Beale Street Merchants executive director Ken Taylor.

As the future of Beale Street leadership hangs in the balance matters of fairness are coming to a head.

We need management that is considerate that is about inclusion we need management that know Beale is not divided," said Lucille Catron.

Today some black business owners on Beale told city leaders they are feeling left out when it comes to deciding what’s next for the street and who should manage it.

"You’ve got 34 businesses and maybe 3 African-Americans," added Catron.

They feel their lack of representation has left them without a voice. Taylor says that just isn't true.

"To have all the rights and privileges you have to pay dues and if you do not you can’t vote," added Taylor.

Some Beale Street Merchants want the current management to stay around—right now it is under the management of the Downtown Memphis Commission.
Catron just wants city leaders to take a closer look at what’s going on within the process of planning a future for Beale.

"We are asking for fairness, we are asking the council to investigate. Look at voting procedures and they will see the deck has been stacked against African Americans on Beale.

City leaders are planning to look into procedures and changes could follow depending on what is found.