Earlier this month, the Cavalier Daily released an article criticizing the UPC A$AP Ferg Welcome Week concert. The writer believed that Ferg’s lyrics and commentary were “cringeworthy” and that the artist’s presence at the University showed a clear “lapse of judgement” on the part of the University Programs Council.
UPC was right to issue a statement that we do not agree with or support the views suggested by Ferg’s music. We don’t. The purpose of the Welcome Week concert is to show new students that there are safer ways to participate without going to the widely attended block party and every year the members of the UPC concerts committee strive to accomplish that.
In order to best serve our student body, we issue an annual survey about what types of shows the students want to see on Grounds. Each year the results reflect a strong desire to see rap musicians perform. This year the results showed that a plurality of students - polling at 40 percent of students who took the survey wanted to see another rap show. The point of the show is to get people to actually attend.
Ferg’s lyrics are explicit, but you would be hard pressed to find any rap artist whose lyrics aren’t. During the concert, when A$AP Ferg attempted to get students on stage, UPC stopped it immediately and will continue to make sure our students are respected and kept safe in the future.
Moreover, we trust our student body. To censor artists, especially in a genre dominated predominantly by black artists, is to take away trust in the student body’s cognitive listening abilities. I’m not defending A$AP Ferg as an artist or a person, but to place the blame on UPC is almost equivalent to blaming students’ music preferences. UPC doesn’t pick artists based on who we want to see perform, we choose based on who we think would generate the greatest turnout. Instead, we choose artists that we believe and know students want to see live in concert.
Molly Strauchler is a third-year in the College and served as the 2018 University Program Council’s Concert Committee Director.