This weekend, on August 3rd and 4th, the AfroFuture Music Festival will be taking place in Detroit, but not without some drama. There was a recent uproar about ticket pricing because originally you only had to pay half price if you are a person of color (POC). Meaning White people had to pay $20 while African Americans and other people of color only had to give up $10. This resulted in the staff behind the festival, AfroFuture Youth, receiving many threats and backlash on social media.
Tiny Jag, who was asked to be in the festival, posted a picture on Twitter saying, “Today, 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 to anyone who may have been triggered or offended.”
The promoter’s reasoning behind the pricing was that people of color can barely participate in festivals for them because White people are always buying all of the tickets or the ticket prices are not affordable. There were also many comments under @theshaderoom post about it. “The festival is not just an entertainment event, it’s a fundraiser for Detroit youth put on by activists in Detroit. Y’all sound really suspect taking up for White people who already systematically have more access to funds than Black people due to racism. This isn’t about fairness. This is about creating equity & opportunities for our youth to have access to the same resources they are handed for free. If you can’t get with that, then why don’t you pay for all the White people out your pockets cause they’d do the same for you, right?”
Chicago teen, DeAnna Baskin, 15, who attends Gwendolyn Brooks College Prep, had her own opinion about the subject. “I think it’s appropriate because it’s a festival for POC, but I can see how Caucasians can find it offensive. But the festival is not really made for them.”
Afolasade Aina, 16, also from Brooks, countered with, “I think it’s a double standard. As a person of color or a person period, I’d never turn down a discount, however, if the shoe was on the other foot, I’d feel like it was unfair. Although it is the AfroFuture Music Festival, that doesn’t take away from the fact that it’s a public event. To avoid controversy, it would make more sense for everyone to pay full price.”
Aina has a point. If Coachella pulled something like this you can put money on it that the POC would be in full protest mode for having to pay full price while their White counterparts got a discounted show.
After receiving so much backlash, the promoters changed the prices back to $20 for all races and a suggested donation for the festival. Afrofuture wrote up this explanation, “We’ve seen too many times organic events happening in Detroit and other POC populated cities and what consistently happens is people outside of the community benefiting most from affordable ticket prices because of their proximity to wealth. This cycle disproportionately displaces Black and Brown people from enjoying entertainment in their own communities.” They made it clear that their purpose of this was to promote equity over equality for the Black youth.
So where do you stand on the matter?
By Bailey Boone, Sophomore, Gwendolyn Brooks College Prep