As protestors continue to demonstrate against police brutality following the death of George Floyd, many are calling for people around the globe to join the Black Lives Matter movement. For anyone still hesitant about using that phrase, drag stars Bob the Drag Queen and Peppermint are here to explain why they shouldn’t be.
In a one-hour conversation posted to Bob’s YouTube channel on Saturday (May 30), the two former Drag Race stars discussed the protests revolving around the death of George Floyd, and why it is vitally important to say that black lives matter, rather than some other variants of the phrase or staying silent.
During their conversation, Bob brought up that he had spoken to a number of Drag Race contestants who were hesitant to tweet #BlackLivesMatter for fear of alienating their audience, and shared the advice he gave to them for the audience at home.
“We don’t have time for you to evolve, and find your voice, and write a poem, and do a photoshoot,” he said in the video. In response to one queen who allegedly said she was afraid of being “cancelled,” Bob said he responded by saying, “‘You’re not cancelled. You know who’s cancelled? George Floyd is cancelled, and he’s never uncancelled. That’s what cancelled is.'”
Peppermint agreed, adding on that while she understands the urge to say nothing, that urge comes from a place of deep privilege. “It’s human to be afraid of what the reaction’s going to be,” she says. “How you feel, being scared about saying ‘Black Lives Matter’ … what it does is highlight that you can thrive and live and make money, and you never have to talk about people being killed. That is the definition of whatever kind of privilege you want to talk about.”
The drag star continued, saying that it is more than just privileged to say nothing — it is directly detrimental to the cause. “This is getting worse and worse,” she said. “Living in that world where you can just not engage, and still interact with the culture in a way where you’re picking and choosing; it shows a sense of callousness.”
Bob adding that he has a message for those who are choosing to stay silent on social media about the protests and the movement at large:”That is your right to do so, but b—h when I tell you that I will never forget that for the rest of my life, just know that I will never forget that.”
Check out the full discussion between Bob the Drag Queen and Peppermint below:
Between his fan-favorite GOLF store getting damaged during the Los Angeles, Calif. protests and the four white cops who murdered an innocent Black man named George Floyd last week in Minnesota, Tyler, the Creator is only condemning one of these acts.
Graffiti marked up the local rapper’s avant-garde flagship store located on 350 N Fairfax Ave. while protesters took to the streets over the weekend to remember Floyd, one of them being Tyler himself, as a Twitter user pointed out yesterday (May 31).
The IGOR superstar posted on his Golf Wang clothing brand’s Instagram account yesterday about “BLACK FURY,” a pivotal concept to the 1960s Black Panther Party. “BLACK FURY: keep your eyes wide and educate yourself. ( black panther party, 1969),” he wrote for the caption, followed by the comment, “and the store is fine, but even if it wasnt, this is bigger than getting some glass fixed and buffing spray paint off, understand what really needs to be fixed out here. stay safe, love.”
Some fans took to Twitter to express their outrage at the vandalism of a store owned by a Black artist but understood how the Grammy award-winning rapper valued the safety of the protesters and the reason behind the protests over the condition of his store.
Check out Tyler’s full statement below.
On Monday (June 1), former President Barack Obama penned a note discussing how to bring real change in the wake of George Floyd’s unlawful murder last Monday (May 25) at the hands of white police officers.
“I wrote out some thoughts on how to make this moment a real turning point to bring about real change — and pulled together some resources to help young activists sustain the momentum by channeling their energy into concrete action,” he wrote on Twitter.
He then linked out to his concise Medium post about the meaning behind the recent protests across America, the importance of voting to change the criminal justice system and police practices, and the resources needed to carry out concrete action, the latter of which included New Era of Public Safety: An Advocacy Toolkit for Fair, Safe, and Effective Community Policing that was developed by the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights and “based on the work of the Task Force on 21st Century Policing that I formed when I was in the White House,” Obama wrote.
Singer Hayley Kiyoko shared the nation’s former leader’s post and acknowledged him for his current authority. “Thank you Mr. President . Thank you for being a true leader,” she wrote on Twitter. Obama also posted excerpts of his note on Instagram, which Kevin Abstract, Louis Tomlinson and more artists liked.
See Kiyoko’s reaction below.
When the concert business shut down in mid-March, Bobby Garza abruptly shifted from putting on live events to tearing them down — his company, Austin-based Forefront Networks, had to cancel the California food-and-music festival Yountville Live later that month, and massive productions like December’s Trail of Lights in Austin are in question, too. In early April, his life changed even more dramatically: Forefront furloughed 30% of its staff, including him.
As part of Billboard’s efforts to best cover the coronavirus pandemic and its impacts on the music industry, we will be speaking with Garza, a 43-year-old Forefront creative team leader who used to be general manager of festival producer Transmission Events, each week to chronicle his experience throughout the crisis. (Read last week’s installments here and see the full series here.)
You’ve spent your time in quarantine talking to people in the concert business, with Music Cities Together and other groups. How would you describe your colleagues’ moods these days?
It runs the gamut. How do you maintain some level of revenue by pivoting into new spaces? That’s a scary thing to do. It feels even more terrible if you’re trying to pivot into something that you’ve never done, on a really compressed timeline, with no anticipation about some potential revenue. On the other end of the spectrum is friends involved in the gig economy and contract work, who work festivals during festival season and bartend in between. Those are the folks having the hardest time getting assistance and they need the assistance the most.
When you talk to people in the concert gig economy, what is the sentiment? Are they hopeful, scared, devastated?
All of those things. Hope’s probably near the bottom. “What the hell do I do?” If you spend most of your day on hold or getting hung up on by some unemployment agency, what time do you have to actually go look for a job?
How many Austin clubs survive the pandemic? Will there be a Stubb’s Bar-B-Q? Will there be an Emo’s?
The two that you mentioned are part of the C3 [promoter] family. So they may have better safety measures in place than some other folks. But if you think about Mohawk or Barracuda or Hotel Vegas, they may not have the corporate backstop or cushion. In other cities, some of these larger music companies are taking control of medium- and large-sized venues, and maybe those are OK. What’s really at risk is “mom and pop or old punk-rocker wanted to create a venue that probably does not have a cash reserve.” Some of those will go away. We’ve seen a bunch of Austin iconic businesses that are already closing. Austin is one of those cities that is almost violently entrepreneurial: If you’re an Austin business, you’re an independent business. I worry about those the most. They provide the most cultural value, but they’re probably the most at risk.
If and when everything goes back to “normal,” what has to happen for music clubs to recover most efficiently?
It’s folly to believe we’re going to flip a switch and everybody’s going to go back to doing business the way they were. That’s Pollyanna and a little bit dangerous. What will make that feel less like a long trudge up a big, steep hill is if we can figure out what impediments venues, musicians and event companies actually face. In Austin, a constant source of frustration is the length of permitting times, your ability to block off parking spaces — fundamental block-and-tackling things that take time, which equates to money. Stuff like “how do we provide property-tax relief?”
Can concerts reopen to some degree already, with social-distancing and masks and so on?
I was reading something about Nashville: You can open at 75% capacity, but you can’t have a dance floor. I was like, “Cool. What does that mean?” There’s geometry at stake here and I don’t know if anyone provides guidance for that. Are there going to be the dance police? If a crowd rushes a stage because they’re so excited, are you going to pull the plug and turn the lights back on and say, “Everybody needs to back up!” You can create policy that makes sense on paper, but the practical application for the live-music industry has not been talked about. That’s the stuff that’s going to slow everything down.
And that’s what you’re working on now?
Yeah. I’ve gone through the process of even drawing stuff out, just for myself, because I’m a visual thinker. What does it look like if you have to keep pods of people six feet apart from other pods of people? How much space does that take up? What happens with your walking lanes? How do you ensure people are maintaining the proper distance and not doing what everybody does at festivals, which is pack as close to the front of a stage as possible?
How else are you passing the time in quarantine?
We converted our back patio into a little martial-arts Zoom studio. We’ve had two months of virtual classes. I’m about to get my second belt in quarantine, which is hilarious. Working on hitting and kicking things is a good stress relief. My oldest son is second-degree black belt at 13, and my youngest is 9 and he’s working on his black belt. You have to demonstrate kicking, punching and holds, but you have to be of good character. Part of their requirements are to practice random acts of kindness — we’ve had these conversations about “how do you do that when there’s no one around?” As much bleak shit as there is out in the world right now, taking the time to be a little present in the moment about the positive stuff is super-important.
Rapper Young M.A was taped getting into a heated discussion with Atlanta police over the weekend after she claimed that they pulled one of her fans over for no reason. In a video of the incident reposted by DJ Akademiks, M.A. can be heard asking a white police officer, “What did she do?” as he told her the situation was “fine.”
“No, it ain’t fine. No, no, no, no, no,” M.A. replied, asking why the police pulled over the woman for reportedly “blocking traffic” while she was speaking to the Red Flu rapper. As M.A. and several bystanders inquired why the police were calling for backup and asking to go into the woman’s trunk. “Ya’ll still ain’t say why though! Why did you pull her over though? She was not blocking no f—ing traffic!”
Later on in the clip, M.A. thanks the cops for letting the woman off with a warning and gives her fan a big hug before saying, “That’s how we stand, bro, that’s how we stand! They didn’t want to let her go, bro. She came up to me showing love as a fan, bro. And them n—s pulled her over ’cause she was in the middle of traffic. And we all pulled up, five cars deep, on police! We in Atlanta right now. We don’t want no smoke, we don’t want no problems. But you’re not gonna do that to my fans, bro.”
M.A. said the run-in took 15 minutes to resolve and she noted that she didn’t want to disrespect the officers, who she praised after they “didn’t do the most.” The scene took place on a weekend when police were out in force in dozens of cities across the nation during largely peaceful protests in the wake of the police-related death of Minnesota’s George Floyd. She also joined a larger movement encouraging citizens to take action in the face of injustice, including fellow ATL MC Killer Mike, who pleaded on Friday for his fellow Georgians to refrain from the looting and rioting that has plagued some cities as night falls during the Floyd protests and instead use their power at the ballot box in November.
“F–k a statement!” M.A tweeted on Monday morning (June 1). “Commit action! Let the people see you relate to their pain! I’ve been thru that! And still go thru it! NYPD don’t give a f–k! They pull you over for anything!”
Watch video of the incident below.