An Afrofuturist group says it reversed its decision to charge white people more for tickets to its Detroit festival than black and brown people because they received threats, an artist dropped out and a ticketing website threatened to unpublish their event.
The Eventbrite page for “AfroFuture Fest,” hosted by Afrofuture Youth, advertised an “Early Bird POC Ticket” for $10 — with POC meaning “people of color” — and an “Early Bird NONPOC Ticket” for $20. The group defined “NONPOC” as white people.
News of the group’s charging practices hit social media last week when rapper Tiny Jag said she was unknowingly added to the August event but agreed to support and perform. Tiny Jag told CNN she was not going to be paid for the performance. Once the rapper caught wind of the prices, she said she was “triggered.”
“A non-POC friend of mine brought to my attention that AfroFuture is requiring non-people-of-color to pay twice the amount to attend the festival as POC,” she tweeted on July 2. “This does not reflect the views of myself or the Tiny Jag team. I will not be playing this show. I apologize for anyone who may have been triggered or offended.”
The rapper said she is biracial and her grandmother is white. Tiny Jag told CNN Monday she felt emotionally triggered because the charging practice makes a group of people feel like they are not wanted at the event and like they’re paying a debt for another community.
“I didn’t think we were near that thinking that something like that could be progressive,” she said. “We have never seen hate work, I don’t understand.”
Eventbrite said in a statement to CNN they don’t “permit events that require attendees to pay different prices based on their protected characteristics such as race or ethnicity.”
“In this case, we have notified the creator of the event about this violation and requested that they alter their event accordingly,” their statement read. “We have offered them the opportunity to do this on their own accord; should they not wish to comply we will unpublish the event completely from our site.”
The group says its reasoning for doubling ticket prices for white people was because white people have the privilege to attend festivals in “POC populated cities.” In other words, the group says, white people can afford tickets to any event in any city, while black and brown people cannot.
“This cycle disproportionately displaces black and brown people from enjoying entertainment in their own communities,” the group said on Eventbrite.
Afrofuture Youth’s website says they are a youth program that looks to uplift black children “through the lens of Afrofuturism,” which is a philosophy looking at the intersection of African culture and technology.
After all the backlash, the group tweeted Sunday night that they had reversed their decision on ticketing prices because they “received threats from white supremacists” and children were “subjected to seeing racist comments” on social media.
The ticketing formula they came up with included a $20 general admission fee and a “suggested donation for nonPOC.”
“Events often designed for marginalized Black and Brown communities can be easily co-opted by those with cultural, monetary, and class privileges,” Afrofuture Youth wrote in its explanation on Eventbrite. The group added that they’re promoting “equity over equality” for black youth.
“Non-POC individuals are encouraged to provide additional donations as acknowledgment of this historical inequity,” the group said.
CNN has reached out to Afrofuture Youth for comment, but has not heard back.