Hampshire College Cancels Performance of an “Afrofunk Ensemble”

Hampshire College in Amherst, Massachusetts, cancelled an appearance by the band Shokazoba. The band portrays itself as an “Afrofunk ensemble.” One band member stated that their appearance was cancelled after they were criticized on social media as being “too White” to play Afrobeat music.

shokazoba

The college issued a statement which read in part: “Some members of our student community questioned the selection of one band, asking whether it was a predominantly white Afrobeat band and expressing concerns about cultural appropriation and the need to respect marginalized cultures.”

The Hype Committee at the college which organized the annual student-sponsored Halloween event, stated online that “Due to concerned students voicing their opinions about the band Shokazoba, we held community dialogue to hear what individuals had to say. As a result of the dialogue, and discomfort expressed by members of the community in person as well as by email, Facebook, and other means, we have removed Shokazoba from the lineup for Hampshire Halloween.”

Blacks make up about 3 percent of the student body at the small liberal arts college.

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