Keyon Harrold Sues “Soho Karen” Over “Violent Incident Of Racial Profiling” Towards His Teenage Son
The day after Christmas, a 22-year-old white woman named Miya Ponsetto earned the nickname “Soho Karen” by racially profiling, and then physically assaulting, a 14-year-old Black boy. In widely circulated footage, Ponsetto was seen falsely accusing Keyon Harrold, Jr., son of the renowned trumpeter Keyon Harrold, of stealing her phone. The footage then showed her tackling the boy in the lobby of the Arlo Soho Hotel. Now the family is suing Ponsetto and the hotel over the incident.
In a press conference today at City Hall Park in Manhattan, civil rights attorney Ben Crump announced the lawsuit, joined by Harrold and the boy’s mother, saxophonist Katty Rodriguez. A press release from Crump ahead of the press conference reads, “In December 2020, Keyon Harrold and his son were racially profiled in an Arlo hotel in Manhattan by Miya Ponsetto, falsely accusing Keyon Harrold Jr. of stealing her phone and physically attacking him. The father and son were staying at the hotel and did not receive support from management.” Footage of the full press release is viewable below via Crump’s Instagram. Ponsetto is also facing criminal charges; her case is still pending.
The elder Harrold has been acclaimed for his work at the intersection of several genres. As a 2017 installment of our jazz column Ugly Beauty explained, “he’s evolved from a straightahead jazz player into someone blending jazz, funk, hip-hop, and R&B, not unlike Christian Scott or Robert Glasper.” He recently performed at D’Angelo’s Verzuz event at the Apollo.