AfroFuture Fest, a Detroit music and arts festival, is facing controversy for charging white people twice the price of admission as black people. Now, at least one musician has withdrawn her planned performance.
Biracial rapper Jillian Graham, whose stage name is “Tiny Jag,” announced she would no longer perform at the festival next month after learning of the race-based admission prices.
“I was immediately enraged just because I am biracial,” Graham told the Detroit Metro Times. “I have family members that would have, under those circumstances, been subjected to something that I would not ever want them to be in … especially not because of anything that I have going on.”
“It seems almost like it has spite, and unfortunately with spite comes hate, and that’s just not obviously going to be a good direction for us to go if we’re looking for positive change,” she explained.
Festival organizers initially listed early bird “POC” — or “people of color” — tickets for $10 and “non-POC” early bird tickets for $20. General admission prices were also racially based: $20 for “POC” and $40 for “non-POC” people.
Organizers explained the racial discrepancy on their “frequency asked question” page:
Our ticket structure was built to insure that the most marginalized communities (People of Color) are provided with an equitable change 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 that everyone should have access to receiving such.
However, after igniting backlash, organizers updated admission prices, removing the race-based tiers.
Eventbrite, which hosts the festival’s online ticket sales, said it does not “permit events that require attendees to pay different prices based on their protected characteristics such as race or ethnicity” on its platform, CNN reported.