Shokazoba says show was axed due to criticism they are too white

Oct. 29, 2013 at 12:25 PM
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SPRINGFIELD, Mass., Oct. 29 (UPI) -- Afrobeat band Shokazoba says its show at Hampshire College in Massachusetts was canceled after an online campaign targeted the musicians for being "too white."

Shokazoba keyboard player Jason Moses told The Republican newspaper he and bandmates are upset they were eliminated from the lineup of the school's annual Halloween party last Friday.

Moses said the cancellation was due to a social media campaign led by about 30 people who didn't want his band playing Afrobeat music at the event because they are "too white."

The musician said the band members are not all white, but their races shouldn't be an issue anyway.

"It's not important to us. Music and art [have] the opportunity to transcend all that," Moses told the newspaper.

"It was just absolutely a disgusting experience," he said. "It felt like we were demonized. I didn't feel they should cancel us."

Elaine Thomas, a spokeswoman for Hampshire College, said in a statement some students "questioned the selection of one band, asking whether it was a predominantly white Afrobeat band, and expressing their concerns about cultural appropriation and the need to respect marginalized cultures."

She went on to say the students who objected to the booking "meant no disrespect to the members of the band, but wished to raise larger questions and deeper thought within our community."

"Unfortunately, voices unconnected to our campus and to the events of Hampshire Halloween drowned out a reasonable conversations about how to ensure that the entire student community could have a safe and happy evening. As can happen on social media, posts from off-campus individuals trivialized the concerns of our students and made them feel disrespected," Thomas said.

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