Dear brothers and sisters, we are gathered here today to discuss yet another display of tone-deaf whiteness.
A bar in the Lakewood/Edgewater area of Cleveland, Ohio by the name of Twist Social Club is having “Fight The Power! Inauguration Edition” themed party on Friday, January 20, 2017. If you’re thinking, “That’s the day Trump will be sworn into office” you would be correct. At this “Fight The Power” party, music from the 80s, 90s, and early 2000s will be played. Hits by BIG, 2pac, Diddy, Big Pun, Lil Kim, Public Enemy, and more will be heard and enjoyed its crowd of predominately white, gay men.
If you’re now thinking, “Wait, haven’t you written about Twist before?” You would also be correct. I frequent Twist every now and again. It’s a pretty nice, chill bar. And if we’re being real (which is what we do on this blog), if you’re L, G, B, T, or Q in the Cleveland area, your options are limited when it comes to satisfactory nightlife. Then add being Black on top of that…well we’ll get there in a little bit. Overall, it’s not a bad place to spend a Saturday night.
However, while Beyonce-themed party Twist just held was a LITuation, this “Fight The Power” themed party is a BAD idea.
If you are now thinking, “It’s just a party. What’s the problem?” Hold on to your britches, because I’m about to go there.
This fake excuse of a protest of the Trump presidency is horrible idea for several reasons, but the main reason why it’s trash is because by having a party named “Fight The Power,” a record that embodied Black pride and rejected the inequalities that Black people face(d), and choosing to only play hip-hop and rap music to your damn near all white clientele is exploitation of Blackness (and Black pain) for profit.
By having this party, you are doing what whiteness has done to Blackness for centuries, which is exploiting, appropriating, abusing, and partaking in on our culture, while at the same time disregarding our issues, our people, and our concerns.
Public Enemy’s Fight The Power, Naughty by Nature’s Hip Hop Hooray, 2Pac’s Hit Em Up, Lil’ Kim’s Crush On You, Jay-Z’s Can’t Knock the Hustle. These songs (and many, many more) were created for the empowerment, enjoyment, and entertainment of it’s Black and brown consumers. Not to trivialized or tokenized for white amusement and half-ass protest.
Do I think that the people over at Twist sat around a table and were like, “How can we make the Negros mad this week?” No, absolutely not. I do think that no one thought critically about the kind of message this party would send. And this is a prime example why staff diversity and POC hires are effective. I’m sure someone with melanin would have looked at this event and explained to whoever the decision makers are that this is not a good idea. This is why our seat at the table (shoutout to Solange) is imperative; so your tone-deaf ideas don’t actually manifest, and you don’t have angry bloggers like me over here typing all fast.
I say all of this to say this party is not “just a party,” it is the exploitation (and arguably appropriation) of Black culture. The message you are sending by having this party is the exact wicked principles this country was built on, and can be directly correlated to why a racist reality star will be running the world in less than a month. We gotta do better.