Sun. Dec 15th, 2019

The Blue & Gray Press

The University of Mary Washington Student Newspaper

Controversial Musician to Perform at UMW

3 min read

The University of Mary Washington will be hosting the controversial rapper Kreayshawn next Monday as part of her Noisey College Tour with Neon Indian.

Kreayshawn’s invitation to perform at Smith College, as a part of their campus, was recently revoked after students started a petition against her playing at the school.

The petition states that “she is blatantly racist, and has repeatedly mocked both people of color, and black culture.”

According to their website, Smith College, a women’s school, has between 2,500 and 3,000 undergraduates. As of Wednesday, 96 people had signed the petition.

Smith College sophomore Brooke Gerstein started the petition the day that Kreayshawn and Neon Indian’s upcoming performance at her school was announced.

According to Gerstein, Smith College’s invitation for Kreay-shawn to perform was renounced about a week later. Because she and Neon Indian are in a tour together, this means Neon Indian will not be playing, either.

Many students were angry that Kreayshawn’s invitation was revoked because they believed that if someone did not like Kreayshawn, they should just not attend the concert, according to Gerstein.

However, Gerstein said that she believes that  having her play would reflect poorly on Smith College, and that students in agreement with her especially did not want her performance to be subsidized by “budget money coming from everyone’s tuition.”

Gerstein did not know how much it would have cost the school to bring Neon Indian and Kreayshawn to their school.

According to UMW Giant Productions President Justin Thompson, UMW is paying $5,000 to have them come.

Kreayshawn’s publicist Michelle McDevitt said she believes that people being misinformed about who Kreayshawn really is led to the petition.

“If the Smith students who are so upset about Kreayshawn did some research on her instead of relying on one music video and/or op-ed pieces and blogs who concern themselves more with getting traffic instead of doing investigative journalism, I’m sure they’d come to a different conclusion,” McDevitt said.

She also added that she believes that the claim in the petition of her being “blatantly racist,” is untrue.

“They’re probably referring to the rumor that she said the ‘n-word’ which she has repeatedly addressed time and time again; she has never said the word,” she said.

Gerstein maintained that while Kreayshawn has not used the N-word, another member of a group she often performs with, White Girl Mob, has.

She added her belief that many students at Smith College come from “areas much more difficult than her own background, and do not conduct themselves in such a demeaning manner as [K]reayshawn.”

“It’s not an excuse for cultural appropriation,” Gerstein said.

Kreayshawn recently addressed the controversy over her image and music in an interview with National Public Radio.

“For people to say, like, someone is supposed to act a certain way because of their race or they’re not supposed to act this way because of their race — I think that’s racist,” she said.

Thompson, a junior, said that he believes the controversy has been blown out of proportion and that it is a non-issue.

“What they were talking about isn’t true,” he said in reference to the claims that Kreayshawn has used racist terms. “I don’t believe it’s going to reflect poorly on the university.”

He added that as part of a corporate tour, Kreayshawn is restricted by what she can do.

“Don’t go to the show expecting controversy,” he said.

Junior Liana Burgoyne had heard of the petition at Smith College but did not agree with the students there.

“I feel maybe they should check their facts and adjust their opinions accordingly,” she said.

Sophomore Sally Wrenn said that she’s, “glad that [Kreayshawn] feels like she can come here and feel confident enough to keep pursuing her dreams.”

According to Gerstein, backlash at Smith College to the petition was harsh. She said has been called derogatory names by many people since starting the petition.

“It’s been really hard for me on campus, but it isn’t a personal issue,” she said.

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