The Northampton, MA based band Shokazoba has been playing Afrobeat – a blend of Jazz and Funk with a West African undertone – music for the last seven years. They’ve won the Valley Advocate’s award for Best World Music in 2007, 2010, 2011, and 2012, their Best Funk award in 2008, and Best Jazz in the My411 Source poll in 2009. They’ve even were recognized as “Artists of the Year” for the Big Bands category by the African Jazz review in 2011. In other words, they’re a very competent set of musicians who’ve earned the accolades within their genre of music.
It’s no real surprise that that Amherst, MA’s Hampshire College hired them to perform during the college’s Hampshire Halloween event on Friday, October 25, 2013. The surprise came later…
Shokazoba – Too White To Play Afrobeat
Apparently Shokazoba is just too White to be allowed to play Afrobeat music at Hampshire College. The college’s HYPE Committee, responsible for coordinating these school events, cancelled Shokazoba’s performance because nominally White musicians playing “Black Music” offended some members of the student body of the elite, liberal arts college.
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.
— HYPE Committee, October 24, 2013
One can blame Hampshire College’s HYPE Committee only for cowardice in caving into the small-mindedness, racism, and oikophobia of the young Liberals and Progressives who so vociferously vented their outrage at a White band playing music that they think should be totally reserved for Blacks. In within that limitation one to consider whether or not the battle should be waged, given that it could easy, and probably would, corrupt and suborn the whole intent of the festival, which was to have fun.
One should also keep in mind that, while Shokazoba was forbidden from performing, they were paid in full. They had, ironically as it turned out, a performance contract with the Hype Committee that stated it would not discriminate on the basis of: race, color, religion, national origin, sex, age, physical ability, or sexual orientation.
The racists within Hampshire College’s student body, on the other hand can be blamed for their pro-segregation ideology and, at a bare minimum, should be castigated and pilloried for it since they effectively violated the civil rights of the band members of Shokazoba. And let’s remember that these ethno-guiltism-ridden, oikophobic bigots are, for the most part, White, and have less business appropriating Black racial angst than any White does playing “Black Music.”
I bet this piece from 1976 would cause their heads to explodes:
No matter how these Leftist neo-hippies couch their opinions in politically correct rhetoric and hand-wringing “worry” about the fears and feelings of “marginalized peoples,” what they’re yelling loud and clear is, “Blacks Only, Crackers!”
Tags: Afrobeat | Blacks | College | Cultural Appropriation | Culture | Diversity | Funk | Jazz | Liberals | Massachusetts | Music | Oikophobia | Progressives | Racial Activism | Racism | Society | Whites