Friday, May 17, 2013

The Dartmouth: Students criticize PB's choice of ASAP Rocky

Shared from The Dartmouth:
A group of students have started an online petition in protest of ASAP Rocky's headlining act for today's Green Key Concert. The petition, which criticizes the artist's misogynistic and violent lyrics, garnered 32 signatures by press time.

Referencing a string of ASAP Rocky's lyrics, the petition argues that Dartmouth "can and should be better than this," referencing to Dartmouth's recent decision to cancel classes Dimensions protesters received threats.

"We cannot, in good conscience, use student money to bring someone to campus who will espouse sexism, misogyny, homophobia, violence and the perpetuation of male hypersexuality," the petition reads.

The petition was started by Callista Womick '13, who began sending the petition to other students and organizations on Thursday. Although she had heard some of ASAP Rocky's songs before, Womick did not investigate the lyrics until a friend told her that the rapper would be performing at Dartmouth.

"[ASAP Rocky] seems to be pretty hateful and he will alienate a lot of people on campus," Womick said. "As I read more and more of his lyrics, it was just more of the same."

Using student funds to bring ASAP Rocky to campus suggests that the College and Programming Board supports the rapper's lyrics, said Divyanka Sharma '13, who signed the petition. Sharma, who has worked with the Sexual Assault Awareness Program, said that not acting against the choice of artist would make her a hypocrite.

Signers of the petition alluded to the campus climate since the Dimensions protests.

"We felt like it was such a bad time for something like this to come to campus," Sharma said. "In general, it's a bad idea, and it's specifically bad now."

Matt Cloyd '11, who signed from Boston, said bringing ASAP Rocky to campus would set back the recent progress in the College's climate.

"Using student funds to pay for pro-rape and anti-gay rhetoric to be brought to campus is counterproductive to all of the dialogue that's been occurring," Cloyd wrote.

Not all were supportive of the message of the petition or the students' tactics. The "contentious" means of communication should be replaced with more "constructive" methods, Susanna Kalaris '16 said.

Kathryn Gautier '16 said that protesters of ASAP Rocky's performance are missing the opportunity to expose more important campus issues.

"The time spent protesting could be spent protesting something that will make a lasting difference," Gautier said. "Having a performance for one night on one weekend isn't really the issue."

Students at the University of Pennsylvania outraged the choice of rapper Tyga for their Spring Fling concert last month by posting signs with Tyga's lyrics around campus. The students eventually garnered 250 signatures on a similar campaign.

When Tyga was announced as on the lineup for Harvard's Yardfest, more than 1,000 people signed a petition asking Harvard administrators to cancel the performance. Harvard senior Leah Reis-Dennis started the petition in response to Tyga's "explicitly and violently misogynistic" lyrics.

"We were outraged that someone who promotes sexism and violence against women so explicitly would be selected to perform at our college, and we thought that was wrong so we decided to start a petition," Reis-Dennis told The Harvard Crimson. "Tyga has a right to sing and to write whatever he wants, but that doesn't mean Harvard should give him a platform at our biggest concert of the year to promote that kind of sexism and violence."

Programming Board chair Alexander Martin '13 did not respond to requests for comment.

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