Detroit's AfroFuture Festival Nixes Race-Based Ticket Pricing
Organizers say they changed to pay scale after receiving racist threats, while Eventbrite says a race-based pay scale violated its rules
The festival initially launched ticket sales by offering $10 USD earlybird/$20 USD regular admission for people of colour, and $20 USD earlybird/$40 USD regular admission for non-POCs.
The decision got a global reaction, with some praising the festival for supporting access to affordable entertainment in POC communities, while others were outraged at the divided prices.
So AfroFuture Fest is charging non-POC $10 more for their ticket and all i see is black people in the comments saying "if the shoe was on the other foot, y'all would be outraged"— brenda meeks. (@_trentonnn) July 6, 2019
Bitch. The shoe was on the other foot for approximately 345 years!
Festival charging different prices based on race... 👎🏾— ZUBY: (@ZubyMusic) July 6, 2019
Well done intersectional radicals. You've become the very racists you claim to stand against.
So woke... So very woke. pic.twitter.com/v3YKHpRgRQ
AfroFuture Fest: "Equality means treating everyone the same."— Alex VanNess (@thealexvanness) July 7, 2019
Also AfroFuture Fest: We're gonna charge people different prices based off their race. pic.twitter.com/vH3E4DhKyr
What y'all don't understand with this Afro future youth festival it isn't a upcharge for white people it's a Discount for black people and all this clout and attention is taking away the focus off the YOUTH the kids the whole purpose that's what's important it's about the kids B— Chene (@Amber_Chene) July 8, 2019
Tiny Jag, a biracial rapper, pulled out of the event, lamenting the fact that her grandmother "would have been charged double to come support me." She also received a mix of positive and negative reactions.
sorry ily guys💕💕🌸 pic.twitter.com/MfhuQeEX0U— TINY JAG🖤🦇 (@tinyjaguar) July 2, 2019
Gawd this is embarrassing. My white mom would be PROUD to pay more because she understands the history of economic exploitation of black folk in this country to benefit whiteness & she wants a better future for black folk, including her black kids.— Ijeoma Oluo (@IjeomaOluo) July 6, 2019
After the ticket controversy received media exposure worldwide, AfroFuture organizer Numi Ori took to Twitter to announce the ticket pricing had been changed due to "threats from white supremacists" and to prevent youth from seeing offensive racist comments on the event's Instagram.
For the safety of our community, family, elders who received threats from white supremacists,& youth who were subjected to seeing racist comments on our IG pg,Afrofuture Fest has changed our ticketing model to $20 General Admission & suggested donation for nonPOC on @eventbrite pic.twitter.com/eKHK1PGBfU— Afrofuture (@NumiOri) July 7, 2019
Unfortunately but not surprisingly, there were many conservatives, white supremacists, trump supporters, & racists who shared the same views as her, along with Conservative news sites sharing her articles— Afrofuture (@NumiOri) July 8, 2019
Our family members & elders in community were harassed.
Although the ticket structure was changed, we are still advocating for and encouraging non people of color to donate and that is an option on our eventbrite and our values rooted in an equitable future for all black lives remains the same.— Afrofuture (@NumiOri) July 8, 2019
Ticket sale platform Eventbrite, meanwhile, claimed the race-based pricing violated its terms and conditions, and told AfroFest organizers the event would be removed if the ticket tiers were not revised.
"We do not permit events that require attendees to pay different prices based on their protected characteristics such as race or ethnicity," an Eventbrite spokesperson told CBC.
As such, tickets for AfroFuture are now simply listed at $20 USD, though non-POCs are encouraged to contribute an additional donation.
Bro I wish it coulda stayed the same but eventbrite woulda shut it down anyways plus community members were being harassed :/— Afrofuture (@NumiOri) July 8, 2019
AfroFuture Fest is slated to take place on August 3 at Feedom Freedom Grounds in Detroit. The lineup includes Lost Boy, Charity, Problematic Black Hottie, Curtis Roach, White Buffs on the Astral Plane and more.
The festival is put on by the Detroit-based, youth-led non-profit initiative of the same name. Find out more about AfroFuture's fundraising goals here.
Tickets for AfroFuture Fest are available here.