Bow Wow Responds to Criticism After Performing to Packed Crowd in Houston Nightclub

Bow Wow is speaking out after performing for a crowd that largely appeared to not be social distancing or wearing face coverings amid the coronavirus pandemic.

In footage shared on his Instagram Stories on Friday, the rapper, 33, was seen onstage at a nightclub in Houston performing in a packed club. Bow Wow was also photographed not wearing a mask at the event.

According to the club's Instagram account, face masks are required.  

The performance quickly generated backlash on Twitter, as social media users criticized the decision to hold the packed event amid a nationwide surge of coronavirus cases.

"I thought about it and have decided I'm not willing to die for Bow Wow," wrote actor Zach Braff alongside footage that showed Bow Wow, who was not wearing a mask at the time, performing for the crowd.  

"Y'all clowned Bow Wow for having 15 women in that rowboat, acting like he was doing something special, so he threw a whole mask-optional concert in the middle of a [pandemic]. Mr. Wow's ego sure is fragile. And potentially deadly," #OscarsSoWhite creator April Reign wrote, while Insecure's Natasha Rothwell added, "For… Bow Wow…?" 

Wrote another social media user, "would NEVER risk my life for Lil Bow Wow…..Also, do we have NO COVID restrictions in H-Town? This club needs to be shut down." 

Bow Wow went on to address the criticism on Saturday in a series of Twitter posts that have since been deleted.

"Man I been hosting parties all last year. I wore my mask in the club. I can't host with that thing on," one message read, according to E! Online.  

"That's the thing IT WASN'T MY PARTY. But of course ima get the blame," he wrote in another since-deleted message. "I don't want folks thinking I don't care ya know…"

The rapper went on to claim that he had been wearing a mask earlier in the evening, including during the time he was not on stage, but removed it prior to performing 2005 track "Like Me." He also claimed that before the performance he was tested for COVID-19 "twice." 

Reps for Bow Wow and the venue did not immediately respond to PEOPLE's request for comment.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott announced last October that some bars, operating in areas where hospitalization levels were lower than 15 percent, would be allowed to reopen at reduced capacity if approved by county officials.

Amid a surge in cases and hospitalizations earlier this month, bars in several Houston counties were ordered to close, reported KHOU-11. According to its website, Clé Houston, where Bow Wow performed, is located in Harris county, one area where bars were ordered to close.

Over the weekend, Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner also spoke out about a "loophole" that allows some bars and nightclubs to be reclassified as restaurants, which are currently allowed to remain open at 50 percent capacity indoors.  

"It is ludicrous when these bars and clubs have been allowed to reclassify themselves as restaurants and when you look at these pictures there is no food on the table, none, that is crazy," Tuner said on Saturday, according to KHOU-11.

"In the absence of this reclassification, they are supposed to be closed, and if they are closed you don't have to worry about social distancing," Turner added. "They are community spreaders, and they are working against what we are trying to achieve."

According to the outlet, the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission (TABC) is investigating the event at Clé Houston . TABC did not immediately respond to PEOPLE's request for comment.

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