A Detroit music festival called AfroFuture is currently facing scrutiny for having its ticket prices reflect differences based on perceived race. While differing ticket prices for men versus women are certainly no stranger to anyone looking to hit up a Miami or Vegas nightclub, prices based on race carry are far less common — but no less troublesome.
The pricing offers lower rates for tickets purchased by “people of color” than it does for “non-people of color.” Early bird tickets for “POC” are $10 and $20 for “Non POC.” Later date pricing tiers offers “POC” tickets for $20 and “Non POC” tickets for $40.
The organizers of the event declined to comment, but pointed to the FAQ section of their event website to explain the difference in pricing. It states, “Why do we have POC (people of color) and NONPOC (white people) tickets? I’m glad you asked! Equality means treating everyone the same. Equity is insuring [sic] everyone has what they need to be successful. Our ticket structure was built to insure [sic] that the most marginalized communities (people of color) are provided with an equitable chance at enjoying events in their own community (black Detroit),” the page said.
Upon learning of this discriminatory practice, artist Tiny Jag, who was booked to play the festival, withdrew from the event and requested that she be removed from any promotional materials.
“I was immediately enraged just because I am biracial. I have family members that would have, under those circumstances, been subjected to something that I would not ever want them to be in … especially not because of anything that I have going on,” she told the Detroit Metro Times.
Tiny Jag further said of the ticketing policy, “It’s non-progressive and it’s not solution-focused in my eyes. It seems almost like it has spite, and unfortunately with spite comes hate, and that’s just not obviously going to be a good direction for us to go if we’re looking for positive change.”
As the Washington Examiner notes, “The legality of AfroFuture’s ticket policy is questionable. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 Title II states, ‘All persons shall be entitled to the full and equal enjoyment of the goods, services, facilities, and privileges, advantages, and accommodations of any place of public accommodation, as defined in this section, without discrimination or segregation on the ground of race, color, religion, or national origin.’” Going back to earlier differences regarding men versus women, you’ll note that “gender” is absent from Title II.
More information about the festival can be found here.