US & Canada

US music festival cancels policy of charging white people double

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A music festival in Detroit that was charging double fees for white attendees is reversing course after a backlash that drew national attention.

Tickets for Afrofuture Fest were $40 (£32) for white people and $20 for "people of colour" - a term used in the US for racial minorities.

The disparity caused one performer to pull out and ticket website Eventbrite to threaten to remove the event page.

The policy was changed on Sunday after "threats from white supremacists".

Afrofuture Fest said in a statement on Twitter that they were changing fees to $20 for all attendees "for the safety of our community". Organisers requested that white people make an additional donation.

The previous price structure caused one rapper, Jillian Graham, who goes by the stage name Tiny Jag, to announce on Twitter that she would not perform.

Ms Graham - who identifies as biracial - told the New York Times that when she heard about the policy she felt "an overall recognition that this is just wrong.

"It wouldn't matter what race I was, I knew that I didn't agree with it," she said.

In an interview with the Detroit Metro Times, she said: "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."

Ms Graham said she had planned to perform songs that she had dedicated to her white grandmother.

"How do you want me to come to a performance and perform these songs off a mix tape that is titled after this white woman that you would have charged double to get in here?" she said.

"Like, it's just outrageous from so many different angles."

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On Sunday, ticket seller Eventbrite threatened to remove the event's page listing, which would have prevented further online ticket sales.

"We do not permit events that require attendees to pay different prices based on their protected characteristics such as race or ethnicity," the company said in a statement.

"When we became aware of the violation with AfroFuture Fest, we notified the creator of the event and requested that they alter their ticket pricing accordingly. We also let them know that if they did not comply, we would remove the event completely from our site."

Festival organisers have not apologised for their original plan, with one founder saying, "there were a lot of white people who were telling us they didn't mind paying extra".

In a Twitter thread last week, founder Adrienne Ayers who goes by the name Numi, said the "ticket structure is set up to support the most marginalised.

"Often times when dope events happen in Detroit the cheapest tickets are bought and then sold by people not from the community because they can afford them first, leaving higher price tickets as the only options left."

According to festival organisers, about 70 of the 200 total tickets have been sold.

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