Controversy arises around A$AP Ferg’s Welcome Week performance

Rapper made homophobic slurs and sexist comments during last Saturday’s concert

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A$AP Ferg performed for students at the McIntire Amphitheater. Courtesy Eric Kim, UPC Marketing Committee

Last Saturday, the University Program Council hosted an A$AP Ferg concert in the Amphitheater as part of their Welcome Week events. Although the concert’s intention was to welcome new and returning students to the University, some students have said the language used at the concert made them feel unwelcome. 

Hunter Wagenaar, a third-year College student and Student Council representative, tweeted after the concert about the offensive language used by A$AP Ferg during the performance, which included homophobic slurs in the new song he debuted at the concert and sexist comments towards female attendees.

Wagenaar said that UPC stepped in and asked Ferg to stop making comments towards female audience members after the rapper told them to “take their titties out” and asked “what two girls can twerk on me?”

UPC declined to comment, but the organization issued a statement Tuesday night on the concert’s event page

“The members of the University Programs Council (UPC) want to acknowledge the derogatory comments made by the artist towards women and the LGBTQ+ community at the concert this past Saturday evening,” the statement read. “We apologize to anyone who may have been negatively impacted by these comments. UPC does not condone the sentiments expressed by the artist. We thank everyone who has reached out to us in regards to this matter. As a student-run organization, we aim to create inclusive and welcoming events for all members of the University. Moving forward, UPC will do everything we can to uphold this mission so that a similar situation will not occur in the future.”

University administration encouraged students to attend the concert and Hoos Home, programming at the Aquatics and Fitness Center, as alternatives to the Wertland Street apartment and house parties — referred to as “Block Party” among University students. In a University-wide email, Dean of Students Allen Groves expressed concern about personal safety at Block Party.

UPC spent approximately $174,000 on events to entertain and provide inclusive spaces for new and returning students — of which $130,000 was allocated towards the A$AP Ferg concert.

“To me, a Welcome Week concert is supposed to be welcoming to everyone, so if members of the LGBTQ community or women can’t go to that and feel safe, then is it truly an alternative to block party — if that’s what UPC is telling it as?” Wagenaar told The Cavalier Daily. “Why weren’t there parameters on what he could say?”

After the concert, University President Jim Ryan posted to Twitter and Instagram saying, "Thanks to all the organizers of last night’s concert — and Mr. Ferg — for a fun evening. When the show ended, everyone literally left A$AP."

“I think it’s horrible that admin have been tweeting out and being like, What a fun evening! Everyone had a great time!” Wagenaar said. “For people that felt marginalized and discriminated against, they didn’t have a great time. I think it truly shows the blindside that admin has when seeing how things truly are affecting students.”

Ryan replied to this article on Twitter apologizing for his previous post.

"Just heard about A$AP Ferg’s offensive and inappropriate comments," Ryan tweeted. "I got to the concert right at the end and had no idea about what he had said earlier. My bad, and apologies for sending a less-than-informed post."

According to Wagenaar, other students at the concert were “appalled” that these events occurred at a University-endorsed event. Some students left after the rapper made the offensive remarks. 

“I think UPC should take more responsibility,” Wagenaar said. “Sure, they can’t control every performer they bring, but they can ensure the performer[s] they’re bringing do foster the same values that we foster as a University community — respect, and the community of trust, and sexual assault prevention.” 

This article has been updated.

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