A music festival in Detroit is fighting off claims of reverse racism after selling higher priced tickets to white concertgoers while charging people of color a fraction of the price to attend.
A biracial hip-hop artist planning to play the AfroFuture Fest called out the event and threatened to pullout and Eventbrite made a move to take down the whole event after organizers posted the controversial price structure.
People of color were charged only $20 at attend the Aug. 3 event while others were charged the full price of $40 with the explanation that they were leveling the playing field for people in marginalized communities.
“Our ticket structure was built to ensure that the most marginalized communities (people of color) are provided with an equitable chance at enjoying events in their own community (black Detroit),” the organizers said according to the festival’s Eventbrite page. “Affording joy and pleasure is unfortunately still a privilege in our society for POC and we believe everyone should have access to receiving such.”
“We’ve seen too many times orgasmic 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,” the Eventbrite page continued. “This cycle disproportionately displaces black and brown people from enjoying entertainment in their own communities.”
The rapper Tiny Jag, who is biracial, pulled out of the event saying her grandmother is white and she no longer supported the festival.
“A lot of the songs that I perform are from my first project called Polly – that is my grandmother’s name,” said Tiny Jag, whose born name is Jillian Graham, told the Detroit Metro Times.
“How do you want me to come to a performance and perform these songs off a mixtape that is titled after this white woman that you would have charged double to get in here? Like, it’s just outrageous from so many different angles.”
Eventbrite also took issue with the organizers and the explanation they gave and said they would cancel the festival’s page if they didn’t make the pricing equal across the field.
“Our mission is to bring the world together through live experiences,” Eventbrite told The Independent. “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.”
Now the festival has charged $20 to all potential concertgoers with a suggested donation to people of color.