Ani DiFranco Cancels Retreat Scheduled at Slave Plantation 

The feminist folk singer admits that she didn’t know where the event was going to be held when she agreed to do the workshop. 

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Ani DiFranco 

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Feminist folk singer Ani DiFranco has canceled her "Righteous Retreat," an expensive songwriting workshop, after black Twitter bashed the singer for the choice of venue.

That's because the gig was to be held at Nottoway Plantation in Louisiana, where hundreds of slaves were held under brutal conditions and which is now owned by the conservative Paul Ramsey Group, Yahoo News reports.

"I have heard you: all who have voiced opposition to my conducting a writing and performing seminar at the Nottoway Plantation," DiFranco wrote Sunday in a post on her blog. "I have decided to cancel the retreat."

DiFranco claimed in her post that she agreed to participate in the four-day retreat—which offered fans a chance to "develop one's singular creativity" through various workshops with the singer, to the tune of more than $1,000 per person—but had no idea where the event was to be held.

Once she found out it was going to be at a former plantation, she thought better of the idea. "I thought to myself, 'whoa,' but I did not imagine or understand that the setting of a plantation would trigger such collective outrage or result in so much high velocity bitterness," she wrote.

The "collective outrage" DiFranco was referring to included a slew of comments on the event's now-deleted Facebook page, and thousands of tweets aimed at the singer's account, Yahoo reports.

A change.org petition calling for her to cancel the event was launched by Sara Starr of Chapel Hill, N.C., who believes that "holding a workshop even[t] on a plantation in a town founded by racists ... is insulting to black feminists and black queer individuals and is a very blatant display of racism on [DiFranco's] part."

More than 2,500 people had signed the petition asking DiFranco to cancel the event, with many leaving comments, such as Blaise Parker of Athens, Ga. "Ani, this is some [bulls--t]," Parker wrote. "I have admired you and supported you financially for almost half my life. I am seriously disappointed," Yahoo reports.

Instead of moving the retreat to another location, DiFranco just canceled it.

"Let me just concede before more divisive words are spilled," she wrote. "I obviously underestimated the power of an evocatively symbolic place to trigger collective and individual pain. I believe that your energy and your questioning are needed in this world. I know that the pain of slavery is real and runs very deep and wide. however, in this incident I think is very unfortunate what many have chosen to do with that pain. I cancel the retreat now because I wish to restore peace and respectful discourse between people as quickly as possible."

Read more at Yahoo News.

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