A Detroit music festival, Afrofuture Fest, came under fire recently when it was discovered the event was charging white people twice the amount for entry than it was for people of color.
Listings on Eventbrite for the festival were selling tickets for “Early Bird POC,” people of color, at $10, and tickets for “Early Bird NONPOC,” non-people of color, tickets were $20.
The festival, which is scheduled to take place August 3-4, described itself as a home for arts and healing and advertised a “day parade, drum circle and bonfire.”
The pricing has since been changed but the heat over the initial ticket pricing system, that sparked both jeers and cheers, continued into the weekend.
Organizers have received backlash from some of the performers in their lineup over the skewed ticket pricing, including Detroit-based rapper Tiny Jag, who pulled out of the event after learning of the ticketing policy.
The rapper, whose real name is Jillian Graham, told CNN she would not to support the cause because she was “triggered” after finding out about the prices. Tiny Jag is biracial and her grandmother is white. She told CNN she felt emotional because the ticketing policy makes a group of people feel like they are not wanted at the event and like they’re paying a debt for another community.
“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. 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,” Tiny Jag wrote in a tweet on July 2.
Good on you! https://t.co/5DGB2EgE4B
— Jevon O.A. Williams (@JevonWilliamsVI) July 6, 2019
The rapper was shown a lot of support for her decision to back out. However, some criticized the artist by arguing that the ticketing policy supported the local community and wasn’t borne of ill intentions.
Ijeoma Oluo, author of the book So You Want To Talk About Race, posted on Twitter regarding the rapper’s comments.
Gawd this is embarrassing. My white mom would be PROUD to pay more because she understands the history of economic exploitation of black folk in this country to benefit whiteness & she wants a better future for black folk, including her black kids.
— Ijeoma Oluo (@IjeomaOluo) July 6, 2019
Advertising for the event said equality “means treating everyone the same.”
“Affording joy and pleasure is unfortunately still a privilege in our society for POC and we believe everyone should have access to receiving such.”
“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,” an Eventbrite spokesperson told CNN.
Afrofuture Youth released a statement on Sunday announcing the reversal of their decision.
For the safety of our community, family, elders who received threats from white supremacists,& youth who were subjected to seeing racist comments on our IG pg,Afrofuture Fest has changed our ticketing model to $20 General Admission & suggested donation for nonPOC on @eventbrite pic.twitter.com/6wQXEjRKtt
— Afrofuture Youth (@AFYDet) July 7, 2019
Afrofuture Youth’s website explains Afrofuturism as a philosophy based at the intersection of African culture and technology. Afrofuture Youth is a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping young people create a more equitable world that is geared toward uplifting black children “through the lens of Afrofuturism.”