Let’s get real about race

Thanks to David Forbes and the Mountain Xpress for covering the lack of hip-hop at Bele Chere in the Aug. 10 issue [“Not Too Kool”]. DJ Kool and Doug E. Fresh would have been a wonderful addition to the lineup. The suggestion that they pose any sort of "risk" in comparison to other artists is ludicrous and offensive, as is suggesting that the relatively unknown replacement better suits the Asheville "demographic.”

If I rattled off my local acquaintances, a large portion of them would be late 20s, mostly white, whose formative years were in the late 80s/early 90s; they either love hip-hop like me or have a soft spot in their hearts for party tracks such as those DJ Kool and Doug E. Fresh are famous for.

I'd hate to think that this is a racial issue, but it is difficult to reconcile the final selections with anything but. It isn't a "live music" issue: Asheville has respected DJs perform year round and is now host to a festival celebrating electronic music and art. It isn't a popularity issue: clearly there was a big push for the act. It isn't a crime risk issue: more incendiary acts (of multiple races) play all the time in Asheville without incident. (I include this only because it was mentioned in the article, but the idea of a DJ Kool/Doug E. Fresh performance being a crime risk is laughable.)

It's time to get real. There is no reason such a well-known artist with a positive attitude who is willing to do the show at near minimum cost should be excluded. It's time to stop throwing up the defenses whenever race is mentioned and have a frank discussion.

— Will Hessling

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One thought on “Let’s get real about race

  1. Viking

    It’s called negrohiphopiamelophobia: fear or hatred of black hip hop culture and music.

    Fear of black music and culture isn’t new. This 2000 Spike Lee film gets into it a bit:

    Bamboozled – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    These comments sections are a tiny place to have the conversation, but I brought up AC/DC’s “If You Want Blood (You’ve Got It)”. It’s a hard rock rap about white ghetto youth (there are white ghettos in the US, UK and AUS… though not always in dense inner cities). Of course rock and roll derives from African-American music… which has plenty of influences from white music.

    Thus, segregating DJ Kool for ‘special national security analysis’ was the problem. It happened and MX documented the story. As WCU alumni, I was offended by the WCU executive who brought up ‘financial and political’ ramifications for someone calling DJ Kool to try to actually get to know him before going ahead and ‘sanitizing’ the whole idea of a hip hop artists playing.

    My God. Was this the first hip hop artist to play at Bele Chere? Why was this case so different from the Goombay festival? Why don’t Bele Chere and Goombay merge for special events to overcome this stuff?

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