Afrofuture Fest, a Detroit-based music festival, thought they had a bright idea when they decided to charge Non-People Of Color $10 more than their Black and Brown participants. Recently, outrage over the charge discrepancies has led users to accuse the festival’s part planners of planning a “reverse Jim Crowe era” event.
Ultimately all of this has led the event to backtrack on their earlier effort to charge people with different skin colors different prices.
The Detroit-based music festival recently debuted ticket prices based on the buyer’s skin color on Eventbrite and the backlash has been severe.
Afrofuture Fest is a Detroit-based event that is being hosted by local art and social collective Afrofuture Youth. According to the Afrofuture Youth website, they have good intentions.
The program aims to provide students with resources that will allow them to craft a “new, more equitable world.” In their attempts to achieve this however the collective planned to host AfroFuture Fest on 3 August by charging people of color and white people different prices. AfroFuture Fest‘s Eventbrite page featured an Early Bird POC Ticket for $10 and an Early Bird NONPOC Ticket for $20.
Of course, it didn’t take long for the differing prices to get picked up and go viral.
According to The Independent, the event’s listing said equality “means treating everyone the same.” and that the event’s “ticket structure was built to ensure that the most marginalized communities (people of colour) are provided with an equitable chance at enjoying events in their own community (black Detroit). Affording joy and pleasure is unfortunately still a privilege in our society for POC and we believe everyone should have access to receiving such.”
News of the event’s charging practices went viral on social media when rapper Tiny Jag pulled out of the event and cited the unequal prices in tickets.
In an interview with CNN, Tiny Jag said she had been unknowingly added to the event but decided to support the collective’s cause by performing, however, once she learned of the prices, Jag said she felt “triggered.” According to JAG, she identifies herself as biracial and group up with a white grandmother.
“I didn’t think we were near that thinking that something like that could be progressive,” she told CNN. “We have never seen hate work, I don’t understand.”
In a Twitter post about the incident, the rapper issued a statement saying that the charges do not “reflect the views of myself or the Tiny Jag team.”
Eventbrite has also spoken out against the charges.
The U.S.-based event management and ticketing website told CNN that they do not “permit events that require attendees to pay different prices based on their protected characteristics such as race or ethnicity.”
They also said that they had notified the creator of the event about the violation and asked that the event’s prices be altered. “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,” Eventbrite told CNN.
Of course, users online have split opinions about the event and the criticism its charges have received.
While many of the complaints about the ticketing prices have come from conservatives, many have been quick to defend the prices saying that the event was attempting to achieve equity.
Others have said that basing prices on skin tone pushes us further away from equality.
As is typical for Twitter, everyone has opinions and what one party finds racist the other finds right.
After all of the backlash, on Sunday evening, Afrofuture Fest tweeted that they had reversed their decision on ticketing prices.
The group said that they had “received threats from white supremacists” who were attacking children with “racist comments” on social platforms.
The ticketing formula has since changed on Eventbrite to include a $20 general admission fee and a “suggested donation for nonPOC.”