Society

Hampshire College Accused of Canceling Band's Performance Because They Were 'Too White'

| by Michael Allen

Hampshire College allegedly canceled a Halloween performance by the band Shokazoba because they were "too white" to play African music and the lead singer was not "black enough."

Apparently, the lead singer is black, but the rest of Shokazoba is white. Part of the band appears in this picture (right).

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The school's Hype Committee reportedly wrote on Facebook: "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."

"Hampshire’s justification for the cancellation and censorship has morphed over the past two weeks," wrote American Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts official William Newman in a letter to Hampshire College.

"The genesis of the decision, as you know rested on the accusation that this afro-funk band had insufficient representation of people of color," added Newman. “Comments posted on the event Facebook page, maintained and monitored by the college, stated that the African-American lead singer was not black enough."

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According to MassLive.com, the university had already paid Shokazoba before pulling the band out of a concert on the Amherst, Mass. campus.

Newman also called on Hampshire College officials to apologize, but the school has not responded.

"At issue here are very different understandings of what occurred by the band and by the students who organized the event," Elaine Thomas, Hampshire College's director of communications, told Campus Reform in an email. "Our dean of students, who is the individual working on this, has reached out to the band and asked to meet with them."

Sources: ACLUM.org, Campus Reform, MassLive.com, Shokazoba.com