A Detroit music festival has been criticized for race-based ticket pricing.
A local music festival in Detroit called “Afrofuture Fest” is selling festival tickets on the online ticket website Eventbrite. Many noticed that tickets for “POC,” people of color, were listed for $20, whereas tickets for “non-poc,” white people, were listed for $40.
The festival is being put on by Afrofuture Youth, a non-profit organization. The organization describes itself as “young people creating a more equitable world.”
The group released the following statements in regards to the event: “[The event is an] immersive, intimate and intentional space for afro-black futurists [with the objective of] uplifting youth in detroit…the goal is ensuring ethics were centered in each and every element…This meant, in part, acknowledging and recognizing a legacy of cultural appropriation.”
The group said the difference in ticket prices is meant to reflect “historic inequity.” The group also said the event is meant for POC to have the ability to enjoy an event in their own community of Detroit.
Many were upset at the group’s race-based pricing strategy. This included backlash from a scheduled performer at the event. Tiny Jag, a Detroit based rapper who is of mixed race, decided not to perform and had this to say about the race-based pricing: “My grandmother and her husband, they both had a big influence on me …Even my first mixtape is named after my grandmother who would have been charged double to come support me.”
Tiny Jag’s decision to drop out was met with praise, but also with plenty of hostility. New York Times bestselling author Ijeoma Oluo called Tiny Jag “embarrassing.”
Eventbrite eventually decided not to host the event on its platform the website does not permit events that require attendees to pay different prices based on their race and ethnicity.
After Eventbrite’s announcement, afrofuture fest responded by changing its general admission ticket prices to $20 for all attendees. However, the festival is still providing an option for an extra “non-POC suggested donation.”