Tiny Jag pulls out of AfroFuture Fest after learning white people would be charged a different price
Jillian Graham, aka Detroit-based rapper Tiny Jag, pulled out of a local music festival this week because she disagreed with its pay model, in which people of color would pay less for tickets than white festivalgoers.
Graham said she only found out about AfroFuture Fest's pay model when a white friend reached out to her and sent her a screenshot via Instagram that outlined the pay difference. The early bird POC ("people of color" ) ticket was $10 while the early bird "non-POC" ticket cost $20.
"I was immediately enraged just because I am biracial," Graham tells Metro Times. "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."
While the festival organizers declined MT's request for comment, they explained their rationale behind the ticket prices on the festival's Eventbrite page:
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!"
I think the organizers were trying way to hard to be edgy and create a buzz
Nearly 2,000 western Michigan families will get letters this week announcing that all of their medical debt has been paid off by a local church.
Grand Rapids First, a Wyoming, Michigan, congregation, is covering 1,899 families medical debts almost $2 million in total across four Michigan counties. Through RIP Medical Debt, a New York-based debt purchasing nonprofit, Grand Rapids First paid pennies on the dollar to purchase $1.8 million in debt for about $15,000, according to the churchs executive pastor and CFO Doug Tuttle.
Grand Rapids First is now one of more than one dozen churches throughout the nation that have worked with RIP Medical Debt to tackle medical debt, an issue that contributes to two-thirds of U.S. bankruptcies. The Michigan debt repayments cover families in Kent, Ottawa, Allegan and Ionia counties that will be notified of the gift via letter from RIP Medical Debt some time this week. Tuttle said the largest single debt the church paid off was more than $75,000 in medical charges that were spread over three debt accounts belonging to one person. The gift is covered by Grand Rapids Firsts missions fund, so Tuttle said no church-wide fund-raising was necessary.
Church leaders dont know the identities of the people theyre helping, or if any of them are part of Grand Rapids First's congregation medical privacy laws mean only RIP Medical Debt knows the gifts recipients. But Tuttle said RIP is intentional about choosing recipients who will most benefit from debt forgiveness, like people whose debt is disproportionate to their income or who already live in poverty.
With the gift, Grand Rapids First also hopes to reflect the mission of Christ and echo a biblical repayment of sins. The congregation wasoverwhelmed when lead pastor Sam Rijfkogel announced the payment plan Sunday morning, Tuttle said. "Today, that $1,832,439.26 that's looming over families right now, those families that are living at poverty rates or less, has been paid in full as a result of a gift from this church," Rijfkogel told the congregation during his Sunday sermon. "Paid in full, not held against them one bit."
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