A biracial female rapper from Detroit decided to skip performing at a local music festival after discovering that the organizers intended to charge white people twice the price of what “people of color” would pay to attend the event.
Jillian Graham, aka “Tiny Jag,” whose grandmother was white, was supposed to rap at AfroFuture Fest’s August event, but then a white friend sent her a photo that revealed the early bird ticket for “people of color” cost $10 while the same ticket for whites cost $20. Once Graham confirmed that the event was indeed charging white people more, she quit the program and asked to be elided from promotional materials.
Graham told the Detroit Metro Times, “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 added, “A lot of the songs that I perform are from my first project called Polly — that is my grandmother’s name. How do you want me to come to a performance and perform these songs off a mixtape that is titled after this white woman that you would have charged double to get in here? Like, it’s just outrageous from so many different angles.”
Graham continued, “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 … It’s not fun to withdraw out of shows, especially at home, especially in your hometown, and especially when your supporters have been so good to you. It’s also not fun to do that to my fellow Black women, like that sucks too. It sucks that this is a thing that’s put a wedge here.”
On their Eventbrite page, AfroFuture stated:
Equality means treating everyone the same
Equity is insuring everyone has what they need to be successful
Our ticket structure was built to insure that the most marginalized communities (people of color) are provided with an equitable chance at enjoying events in their own community (Black Detroit).
Affording joy and pleasure is unfortunately still a privilege in our society for POC and we believe everyone should have access to receiving such.
We’ve seen too many times orgasmic events happening in Detroit and other POC populated cities and what consistently happens is people outside of the community benefiting most from affordable ticket prices because of their proximity to wealth.
This cycle disproportionately displaces Black and brown people from enjoying entertainment in their own communities.
As an Afrofuturist youth lead initiative the voices of our youth inform our resistance.
Here’s what they have to say
“If you don’t see my Blackness, you don’t see me. Periodt!”
Fellow rapper Zuby praised Graham, tweeting, “Props to @tinyjaguar for standing up on principle and pulling out of the performance. Want people to recognise that.”