Throughout the course of 2019, it seems like everyone and their mother has unveiled their stance on reparations. From Democratic presidential candidates to Georgetown students, to riveting House testimonies, to Senate Majority Leader Mitch “We Elected an African-American” McConnell, we can’t go two days without someone volunteering their two cents.
Enter AfroFuture Fest: A Detroit music festival that prides itself as an “immersive, intimate, and intentional space keeping for Afro-Black [futurists]” that presumably ran out of patience waiting for its 40 acres and a mule and took matters into its own hands. How exactly? By reportedly charging white folks twice as much to attend.
The New York Times reports that after the horrors of discovering that their beloved Ariel will soon be oiling her scalp before bed, the Liams and McKenzies of the world learned that they’d also be paying $40 to partake in the burgeoning blackstravaganza while the rest of us would only be dropping half as much.
And they had plenty to say about the matter, running the gamut from blind outrage to being mindful of the festival’s intent.
But it was rapper Tiny Jag, who was “unknowingly added to the event” and who identifies as “biracial,” who drew a line in the sand and decided she wanted no parts of the Aug. 3 festival after the ticket structure was brought to her attention.
“A non-POC friend of mine brought to my attention that AfroFuture is requiring non-people-of-color to pay twice the amount to attend the festival as POC,” she tweeted. “This does not reflect the views of myself or the Tiny Jag team. I will not be playing this show. I apologize for anyone who may have been triggered or offended.”
And she wasn’t the only one to buckle under the backlash. AfroFuture Youth founder and co-director Numi Ori claims that she and her family, as well as the owner of the venue hosting the festival, have been targeted by a relentless barrage of threats and harassment. As such, she’s made the decision to instead charge anyone who attends a flat rate—with a caveat.
“For safety, not anything else but that, the new ticket structure will be a standard set price across the board of $20,” Ori said, noting a number of right-wing websites had escalated the issue. “However, there will be a suggested donation for non-people of color.”
When asked to explain the purpose behind the previous pricing structure, she told the Times, “Events often designed for marginalized black and brown communities can easily be co-opted by those with cultural, monetary and class privileges. [...] Our goal is to ensure that the youth of our community can participate in the building of a more just society, one that specifically promotes equity over equality.”
But despite seemingly resolving the issue, AfroFuture Fest might not be entirely in the clear. Ticketing platform Eventbrite issued the following statement to the Independent:
Our mission is to bring the world together through live experiences. We strive to provide a platform that enables people to gather for their chosen purpose, and that reflects diverse viewpoints, so long as they don’t violate our terms. We do not permit events that require attendees to pay different prices based on their protected characteristics such as race or ethnicity.
In this case, we have notified the creator of the event about this violation and requested that they alter their event accordingly. We have offered them the opportunity to do this on their own accord; should they not wish to comply we will unpublish the event completely from our site.
We’ll keep you updated as this story develops and of course, non-POC will be charged extra.