A music festival is apologizing for a volunteer who demonstrated “overt racism” after refusing to move to the back of the venue when a performer called to bring “brown” women to the front of the crowd.
The National Post reports the incident at the Halifax Pop Explosion began when singer Lido Pimienta called for “brown girls to the front” of the venue. According to an account of the event by Allie O’Manique that was confirmed by a festival spokesman, Pimienta kept repeating, “Move to the back” when a white volunteer photographer refused to move.
“Finally after saying it about 10 times — and the woman refused to move — (Pimienta) said, ‘You’re cutting into my set time and you’re disrespecting these women, and I don’t have time for this,’” she explained.
The volunteer was ultimately removed from the event after refusing to move.
In a Facebook post, the Halifax Pop Explosion apologized for “overt racism” the volunteer reportedly showed by refusing to move in order for minorities to take her place:
Dear attendees, fans, artists, staff, volunteers, and folks otherwise involved in the Halifax Pop Explosion. On Thursday, October 19 at the Marquee Club, a white HPX volunteer along with several other white people in the audience reacted to Lido Pimienta inviting “brown girls to the front” of the venue with overt racism. This volunteer was removed by Lido herself. They have since received notification from the festival that they are no longer welcome to volunteer with us.
We will not accept this behaviour and neither should you. Be responsible for your friends - talk to them and support them as they move towards unpacking their racism. People of Colour deserve safe spaces and it is your responsibility to help. It is also ours.
As a result of the volunteer refusing to move to give preferential treatment to people based on their race and gender, the Halifax Pop Explosion also wrote they will be providing a list of resources for people who make an “unsafe and uncomfortable space at our shows and venues by demonstrating racism, homophobia, transphobia, misogyny, and other discriminatory behaviours.”
The festival also apologized for the “aggressive and racist” behavior the volunteer showed by simply not moving and to the minorities in the audience who had their experience “perhaps ruined” by the photographer not moving:
To Lido Pimienta: we are sorry that one of our volunteers interrupted your art, your show, and your audience by being aggressive and racist. We have so much respect for the art and music you create and the space you make for women, people of colour, transgender, and non-binary people. The way you interact with the world acts and provides a thoughtful example. You are a role model to us and many people in our community. We see it. We feel it. We hope you will work with us again.
To the POC in the audience on Thursday night: we are sorry your night was interrupted, and perhaps ruined, by one of our volunteers. We are going to try our best as a festival to create ways to make our spaces safer and more accessible for you. We hope we can rebuild some trust and that you will come back to our shows.
So there you have it: it’s now “aggressive and racist” to refuse to move from your position because of the color of your skin.
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