Wayna Wondwossen arrested in Houston Airport

Elias Kifle | March 27th, 2009

UPDATE:

Houston judge dismisses charge against singer Wayna

(Houston Chronicle) — A judge this morning dismissed the charge against rhythm-and-blues singer Wayna, who was arrested Wednesday at a Houston airport for carrying a collapsible police baton.

Prosecutors asked state District Judge Jeannine Barr to dismiss the third-degree felony during a brief hearing at the downtown Harris County Criminal Justice Center.

No details were available on why the dismissal was requested and at which airport the arrest took place.

The Grammy-nominated singer, whose legal name is Wayna Wondwossen, was charged with carrying a weapon in an airport after she tried to board a plane while carrying the baton, authorities said.

She uses the baton as a prop while singing Billie Club, a song about police brutality.

She did not attend this morning’s hearing.

Wayna Wondwossen arrested in Houston Airport

HOUSTON (AP) – Ethiopian-born Grammy-nominated singer Wayna Wondwossen has been arrested at a Houston airport after trying to get on a plane with a collapsible police baton that she uses while performing.

Wayna, whose full name is Woyneab Miraf Wondwossen, was charged with possession of a prohibited weapon Wednesday.

Houston police spokeswoman Jodi Silva said Thursday that security guards at the checkpoint at Bush International Airport discovered the 24-inch baton in her carry-on bag.

Wondwossen, 35, was transported to the Houston jail and posted $5,000 bond.

Wayna released her second album, “Higher Ground,” in 2008. One of the songs on the album is “Billy Club,” a ballad about police abuse, and Wondwossen twirls and points the baton when she performs the song live.

[More from dcist.com]- According to a statement released by her management team, Wayna was attempting to go through security when she was questioned about a stage prop found in her carry-on bag. The item, which is being described as a 24-inch baton, is used during the performance of her song, “Billy Club,” off of her album, Higher Ground. The song, which also features Three Stars artist Muhsinah, is an eerie ballad that protests police brutality. She explained that she was a performer and had inadvertently packed the item in her carry-on as opposed to checked luggage. Even though she insisted that she had no intent to use the prop as a weapon, Wayna was arrested and charged. Early this morning, she was released from jail on $5,000 bail, according to the statement.

“She’s very shook up but she’s had encouragement and love from family and friends around the world,” said Fiona Bloom, Wayna’s publicist.

Just last month, Wayna was up for a Grammy award in the “Best Urban/Alternative Performance” category for her song, “Loving You (Music).”

An arraignment hearing is set for Friday in Houston.