*Puts lawyer hat on.* Y’all, another Houston spot has been accused of racism, but get this the discriminatory comments are in writing! Here is the back story. Today, a Houston based producer named Garrett Brown aka TrakkSounds (who happens to be white) reached out to local music venue Fitzgerald’s requesting information on booking two “billboard charting hip hop artists” at their venue. He received the below email in response.
Let’s dissect these comments for a moment shall we?? 1) Despite the use of quotations, I’m prettttty sure that’s not a direct quote from any chart topping rap song. So we will just go with Fitzgerald’s made that quote up. 2) So they make up a quote and went right for the use of the n-word? Interesting. 3) The racial stereotyping of the audience is pretty appalling. “Sagging pants” most often refers to African American men. The attributes that followed that description were also offensive. As Rap/Hip Hop has continued to grow, we have seen that it draws such a diverse crowd that includes a variety of ages, races and gender. It is inaccurate and offensive to suggest otherwise. 4) The email implies that Fitzgerald’s never hosts these types of events. I browsed their upcoming events and true to their claim there were no Hip Hop artists on the list. Looking back though, the venue JUST hosted Devin the Dude last month. So which one is it guys?
On it’s face this email is obviously offensive but people often times people scream Freedom of Speech in these situations. I touched on this before when the now defunct bar Gaslamp tried similar discriminatory practices through their door policies. Free speech is one thing, but acting on those beliefs is another. In this instance, refusing to serve someone would be acting with racial animus and that my friends is illegal under a little federal statute that prohibits discrimination in places of public accommodations. Basically, it prohibits discrimination in public places that provide accommodations such as sleeping, eating and/or drinking. And guess what?? The statute specifically names “concert halls” so yes, Fitzgerald’s THAT’S YOU!
For those still in doubt, check out the federal actions against Gaslamp and Kung Fu Saloon. Both were accused of discriminatory practices and both were challenged by the federal government through this statute! So why do Houston venues keep trying this stuff??
What’s worse is Fitzgerald’s had the gall to put their feelings (i.e. discriminatory intent) in writing. Just for giggles, I drafted a better response. One that gets the point across without being judgy, racist, and not down right rude.