What Do You Call It?
Thinly veiled prejudice, preservation, or racism?
For me I’d say it’s more exclusion. It doesn’t seem to be race but more cultural exclusion. When we approach publicans and ask to promote nights at their venues, the general manager will always be up for it but when it gets to those at the top of the totem pole we seem to get a kick back in the form of
We specialise in soul, disco, and funk… We don’t tend to put on Hip Hop and R&B events.
What is it about Hip Hop and R&B that these publicans don’t like?
It’s the most popular strain of music at the moment, it’s the most credible, and it seems to be the sound that the crowd is following. Do the owners of these venues not want people to dance and buy drink after drink as they need to hydrate from the amount of music based activity and socialising or are happy with people coming to their venue for a drink at a candle lit table listening to lounge house and other forms of safe music that people may not feel like dancing to. The latter will not get you tweets, likes, snaps and shares. The former will get you all of those plus some stories, retain a new type of consumer, and allow your venue to have associated memories whenever someone walks past or steps inside.
What’s so scary about Hip Hop and R&B, what is it about this sound that you don’t like enough to associate with?
Are you afraid that you’ll attract a certain type of crowd, one that your regulars may not want to associate with. One that perhaps you yourselves want to exclude altogether?
I can honestly say I was heartbroken to be told something regarding a potential promotion, because I had pushed a pitch to my business partners about an opportunity that had arisen when they had doubts about associating our brand with this particular place. I did not want to come to any conclusions beforehand and tried to go through with an open mind but I learnt through research that this one company owns so many venues in the local and wider areas, and they may have the same approach to all of their venues.
I guess we don’t fit the aesthetic. We’ve lived in the local area all our lives and want to bring, revive, and retain a presence from the old culture of the locality in a setting that doesn’t want to celebrate, associate nor cater for the natives, it simply wishes to cater for those who’ve migrated into the area from elsewhere.
Can you call a spade a spade when it’s thinly veiled or the terminolgy that may describe exactly what it is seems to be outdated in a sense that it is associated with far more dramatic imagery?
Is it a black thing, probably not on the surface however culturally it could be a different story because when they say “No Hip Hop and R&B” they may as well say that they don’t want any ‘rudeboys’, ‘sass’, or ‘chavs’ [these are typically terms people use to describe black and white people which they feel are not derogatory but typically are as we know what the associated connotation is of thuggery, ‘attitude’, and trouble].
Regeneration is a beautiful thing but when you have faceless cartels backed by venture capitalists acquiring everything in their sights to create carbon copies of the same thing, operating to a similar formula, you quickly notice an undeniable pattern. The more I research the company is the more I realise how deep the rabbit hole is. My views in ‘An Honest Pitch‘ were coming from a very naive place. Lets be honest, I really had no idea that we were dealing with a mini conglomerate. The company everyone knows it as is not the actual company as said company was taken over by a former director in 2013 who paid ‘substantially more than the asking price’ after the company went into administration.
The pub game is unlike any other. There’s so many changes in ownership, supply and operation, as craft beer manufacturers have allowed local pubs to free themselves from the shackles of pubco. However the ones that weren’t so lucky become dormant buildings after dwindling revenues -having not adapted to the times and created a dependance on a generation of folks who regularly went to the pub to socialise, are then purchased and fermented by local pub cartels with ties across the craft and independent hospitality industry. There is a feeling of something fresh and new to cater to a new type of punter, reflective of the events and services they offer, but exclude their undesired punters. Although each establishment has it’s own character and set of devolved powers to adapt itself to the locality and standout from it’s sibling in the neighbouring town or 300km up the road in a different ward, the ideology is pretty much unified across the board: bring in a variety of punters who fit with the image of a ‘New London’, people who want to feel like they’re in a place that’s cutting edge and on the pulse but safe in the fact that you know what to expect. There’s nothing wrong with stability and going back to the foundations to rebuild but at what cost?
So what do you call it?
I posed this question to some of my business partners in a group text, with one replying
It’s soft racism they want black music for white faces. They’re cool with the odd token black guy but they don’t want nothing that young black people and South London natives will go to. – Conrad Kira
Which I cannot disagree with on so many levels but when I posed the question to myself after delving a little deeper, a line from one of my favourite movies came to mind.
It’s nothing personal, it’s strictly business. – The Godfather
That line was a signifier that would mask a ruthless course of action that a fellow operative in that line of business couldn’t deny and would have to dispel all personal associations with the act and respect the move. Similar to chess, you have to advance one way or the other, and I guess if we don’t fit their aesthetic jigsaw puzzle then I’d much rather support and partner with independent businesses where there are no restrictions placed upon who enters, what music or event you can promote that caters to all regardless of race, creed, culture, social status or spending power.
Would I return to any of their establishments for a drink, probably not after delving a little deeper as calling a spade a spade, I would not want to support an organisation who excludes, marginalises and refuses to acknowledge and cater to people like me in favour of their target consumer. Would I promote a party there, who knows. On one hand you would represent the unrepresented and bring your brand of party to a different crowd but on the other hand, I enjoy playing venues where people come to enjoy themselves and mix with all people regardless of who they are, rather than people who may snarl and complain that the music is too loud or the lyrics are too aggressive for them to enjoy a quiet drink on a night out.
I want people to dance, sing along and have fun.