Should action bronson be banned from playing a free show in toronto?

Mr. Wonderful may not be so wonderful in the eyes of some angry Torontonians.Yesterday, NXNE, Toronto’s annual music and arts festival has addressed concerns raised by a Change.org petition created the day before to bar rapper Action Bronson from performing a free show for the festival.

Erica Shiner, a Toronto resident, is backed by nearly 2500 supporters in her quest to have him removed from the festival’s lineup “on the grounds that he produces hate speech.” She accuses him of “violent misogyny,” saying that he “glorifies gang-raping and murder.”

Her allegations refer to Bronson’s song ‘Consensual Rape,’ along with the video for ‘Brunch,’ off his 2011 debut album, ‘Dr. Lecter.’ Let’s break it down.

1. ‘Consensual Rape’

The song is from a mixtape released about four years ago, and okay Erica, we get you. The lyrics are a bit questionable.

“Then dig your shorty out cuz I geeked her up on molly
Have her eating d–k, no need for seasoning
If seven dudes are in the room then she’s pleasing them
Like a trooper. Hit her in the pooper. Throw her in the shower
Then I take her out to Lupa
I’m kinky, I’ll hit it even if it’s stinky
Put em in the shower, make the p—y brand new
Ran through. Give ’em money what I can’t do
Stuff her lunchbox & burn her with the candle”

Shiner’s argument is that “although many in the hip hop community and music industry may be aware of Action Bronson’s violent misogyny, many others remain unaware of his history of recording music that brags about gang-raping and murdering women.” She goes on to say that he should not be invited to perform in  “a public space in our city,” Yonge-Dundas Square, a public square in Toronto’s busy downtown core.

But despite the title, the lyrics don’t mention consent at all, leaving the listener with the question “Is it consensual or is it rape?” We agree, it can’t be both, but if it’s not explicitly explained, who but Action Bronson himself can say who’s right?

2. ‘Brunch’

Shiner also linked Bronson’s ‘Brunch’ video, “in which the artist cooks a meal over a woman’s dead body, rolls her up in a carpet, throws her in his trunk, and proceeds to violently stab her when he discovers she’s still alive.”

Shiner’s description is absolutely true, but to be fair, remember this song is off the album Dr. Lecter, as in the forensic psychiatrist/cannibalistic serial killer from The Silence of the Lambs.

The rapper did an interview with Frank151 back in 2011 when the video was released, and explained that the inspiration for the video was not from actual events, but just an interpretation of the feeling when someone you love doesn’t feel the same way. When asked how the women in his life felt about the video, he wrote, “I mean they know me so I’m a real jokester and Im over the top so they think its funny/disturbing. My Mother loves it and thats all that matters to me.”

 

After the petition surpassed 2000 signatures, originally asking for a mere 100, NXNE addressed it with an official statement on its website, saying that the issue will be discussed with the community to find a solution, but that anyone offended is invited to check out some of the other hundreds of artists that will be presented this year. Read the full statement below.

On Tuesday, May 26 a group of concerned Torontonians created a petition to remove Action Bronson from NXNE’s lineup on Sunday, June 21 at Yonge-Dundas Square. The petition has spawned a passionate online discussion. The Festival would like to address this topic.

Action Bronson performed at Yonge-Dundas Square as part of NXNE in 2012 with Killer Mike, Raekwon and Ghostface Killah. It was a positive concert that was described by reviewers as “laid back”, “a lot of fun” and a “world class hip-hop showcase”. NXNE is confident the lineup on June 21 at Yonge-Dundas Square will make for another enjoyable day of music in a public space.

“NXNE will also present a number of rap artists at various venues, such as Tink and Kate Tempest, who have be lauded for the undisguised feminist viewpoints in their music.” says Sara Peel, Managing Director of NXNE. ” “That being said, in the interest of moving forward in a positive manner, we are engaging in discussion with our community about this important issue, and looking to provide opportunities for concerned voices to be heard.”

NXNE believes each and every one of these artists have the right to express their views through music, but those views belong to them and them alone. Those who are offended by an artist are invited to check out other Festival showcases, as NXNE will present hundreds of artists this June – some may be considered controversial, but most are just plain fun.

So what do you think? Is this cause enough for Action Bronson to be removed from the festival lineup, or is this an overreaction? Vote in our poll and let us know your opinion in the comments!