Known to Western Mass music fans as a popular live act, the local Afro-beat group Shokazoba (check out a 2012 Valley Advocate cover story this writer wrote on the band here) received an unpleasant surprise at Hampshire College Friday.
Prior to the band’s performance at the school’s Hampshire Halloween celebration the members of Shokazoba were informed that their appearance was being cancelled due to student complaints.
“Does anyone want to know what happened to our set at Hampshire Halloween tonight?” read one of several posts on Shokazoba’s Facebook page Friday after the band was informed of the change in plans. “Ask the Hampshire College HYPE Committee and Dean Pam Tinto. 30 students complained that we were too white to play Afro-beat, so we were canceled.”
Though the exact nature of the student complaints that resulted in Shokazoba’s removal from the event’s lineup have yet to be revealed, the college’s HYPE Committee did respond to numerous “negative comments” on the Hampshire Halloween event page by eventually removing the page altogether. And online debate regarding Shokazoba and the school’s action has yet to cool.
“Today, we were discriminated against by people who had never even met us or heard one note of our music,” Shokazoba also posted online Friday. “We're ready to talk when they are.”
Sounds like it’s time to join the conversation.
For a quick rundown of exchanges between Hampshire students, members of Shokazoba and more, visit the following links: https://hampedia.org/wiki/Hype_Committee, https://www.facebook.com/HampshireHypeCommittee, http://onlyintherepublicofamherst.blogspot.com/, and https://www.facebook.com/shokazoba.
For more information on Shokazoba and to see future show dates please visit www.shokazoba.com.
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