Afrobeat Band Is 'Too White' for Leftist College's Halloween Party

Hollie McKay at Foxnews.com reports on political correctness breaking out at leftist Hampshire College in Amherst, Massachusetts. The Afrobeat band Shokazoba was removed from the "Hampshire Halloween" lineup after activists expressed "discomfort" about the band not being black enough. They used lingo about "cultural appropriation" and disrespecting "marginalized cultures."

According to the band’s keyboard player Jason Moses, they were booked for the Hampshire Halloween bash on October 7, but last Friday – the day of the party – were dumped by the event organizers after comments were posted on the event's Facebook page disparaging the music group because they weren’t black.


 

“We are appalled. The reason they (Hype) gave us was that their students felt unsafe. When we asked what made them feel that way, they had no concrete answers and the comments about us from a small group of people were deleted from the Facebook wall,” Moses told FOX411. “Our band was extremely excited to play, and although race shouldn’t even be an issue here, we are not an all-white band. We are extremely diverse and over the years have had African-American, Asian, Latino – a lot of different races and ethnicities play with us. The things said about us were not accurate.”

Shokazoba was formed around ten years ago as a means to play tribute to and honor Fela Kuti, a Nigerian multi-instrumentalist musician and pioneer of Afro-beat music. Hampshire College is a private liberal arts college in Amherst, Massachusetts, which was opened in 1970 as an experiment in alternative education. Moses said the seemingly close-minded hypocrisy is hard to contemplate.

“They supposedly champion free speech and free expression,” he said. “And last year at the same party, a band called Zongo Junction played – they’re an all-white Afro-beat band from Brooklyn. That show was a success without incident.”

Moses also noted that the band signed a performance contract with the Hype Committee which stated that it would not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, age, physical ability or sexual orientation.

The college's motto translates from Latin as "To know is not enough." To know Shokozaba isn't racist is not enough to keep them from being banned. They even sound progressive, with album titles like "Congress For Sale." (The track "Opinion Shapers" is jaunty.)

The Springfield Republican reports the decision to cancel the band was made by the Hype Committee, which puts on student fee-funded "Hampshire Halloween." Get a load of how this PC move was somehow ruined by dissent, or off-campus voices "drowned outd a reasonable conversation" about keeping "a safe and happy evening." If the Left doesn't win, no one's safe?

The Hype Committee wrote on its Facebook page on Oct. 24: "Due to concerned students voicing their opinions about the band Shokazoba, we held community dialogue to hear what individuals had to say. As a result of the dialogue, and discomfort expressed by members of the community in person as well as by email, Facebook, and other means, we have removed Shokazoba from the lineup for Hampshire Halloween."

Elaine Thomas, Hampshire College spokeswoman, said in a statement that the student organizers of Hampshire Halloween contracted with a number of bands, and that some students "questioned the selection of one band, asking whether it was a predominantly white Afrobeat band, and expressing their concerns about cultural appropriation and the need to respect marginalized cultures."

"The students tried to be clear that they meant no disrespect to the members of the band in question, but wished to raise larger questions and deeper thought within our own community," Thomas said. "Unfortunately, voices unconnected to our campus and to the events of Hampshire Halloween drowned out a reasonable conversation about how to ensure that the entire student community could have a safe and happy evening. As can happen on social media, posts from off-campus individuals trivialized the concerns of our students and made them feel disrespected."

Tim Graham
Tim Graham
Tim Graham is Executive Editor of NewsBusters and is the Media Research Center’s Director of Media Analysis