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Racist Threats and Lapse In Support Cause AfroFuturist Festival to Change Ticket Prices

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An Afrofuturist festival set in Detroit has received immense backlash following the discovery that Non POC patrons were expected to pay higher ticket prices for entry. Organizers at Afrofuture Youth say they’ve been bombarded with threats and suffered a loss of support. Comments on their Instagram and statements from artists set to perform influenced a change in their ticketing model.

Based in Detroit, Afrofuture Youth is an initiative founded on the support of Black lives through Afrofuturism via art, tech, media, and healing. Asserting their “resistance stems from creation,” festival organizers designed a tiered ticket model to prevent the exclusion of marginalized groups. To balance the scales and prevent “those with cultural, monetary, and class privileges” from co-opting the event, AFY listed ticket prices on Eventbrite that favored the audience for which their content is designed.

For Us, By Us

As more Black and Brown people are being excluded from events intended for their communities due to aggressive gentrification, AFY’s decision was well received by many within the POC audience. Those who have grown tired of cultural appropriation expressed their support for the initial ticket model on Twitter. Mimicking the social experiment of Saartj, a pop-up food stall in New Orleans, the pricing model was meant to resolve racial wealth disparity. However, once artists caught wind of the news, they pulled their performance. Once Eventbrite found out about the ten dollar difference in price, they threatened to unpublish the event from the site.

Rapper Tiny Jag, who planned to perform music from her project “Polly”, pulled out of the engagement stating her views didn’t align with AFY’s. A biracial woman, Tiny Jag could not reconcile the ticket price model because the project she intended to perform is named after her white grandmother. Confused by the decision, Tiny Jag wondered “How do you want me to come to a performance and perform these songs off a mixtape that is titled after this white woman that you would have charged double to get in here?” The rapper says she was notified by a Non POC friend and announced her decision to pull out July 2nd.

Comply or Else

In a statement released to CNN, Eventbrite said “events that require attendees to pay different prices based on their protected characteristics such as race or ethnicity” are not permitted. Event coordinators at AFY were then notified that if they hadn’t changed their price model on their own accord, the event would be unpublished from the site. July 7th, Afrofuture Youth made an announcement on Twitter explaining their decision to alter the pricing. Citing threats received by White supremacists, AFY changed to a $20 general admission fee and suggested donation from Non POC.

Do you agree with their decision to alter ticket prices? Did you agree with their initial concept?

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Your Move, Facebook! | Twitter Bans All Political Advertising

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Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey recently announced that the social media platform will stop the sale of all political advertising globally. Dropping the gauntlet on Facebook, which has refused to take a stand against political misinformation, Dorsey says “reach should be earned.”

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerburg’s stance on political advertising is remarkably different from Dorsey’s. Zuckerburg has recently been grilled on his views that politicians should be allowed to lie. Explaining Facebook should not be deciding the accuracy of information in a political discourse, Zuckerburg says “I don’t think it’s right for a private company to censor politicians or the news in a democracy.” Facebook was recently attacked for it’s refusal to fact check ads from Trump’s reelection campaign that were refused by major news networks for false information. Their policy of running any political ad led Presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren to run an intentionally false ad claiming Facebook and Mark Zuckerburg were backing the re-election of Trump. As for Twitter, Dorsey says their decision goes beyond free expression. “This is about paying for reach. And paying to increase the reach of political speech has significant ramifications that today’s democratic infrastructure may not be prepared to handle.”

Surprising millions of Twitter users with the announcement, Dorsey revealed through an 11-tweet thread that political ads would end on November 22nd, 2019. Seeing the practice as forcing highly optimized and targeted political messages toward its users, Dorsey says the ads influence a decision making process that should not be compromised by money. “While internet advertising is incredibly powerful and very effective for commercial advertisers,” Jack says, “this power brings significant risks to politics, where it can be used to influence votes to affect the lives of millions.”

Twitter’s change in policy will not affect ads toward voter registration.

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White South Carolina Man Suspected of Trafficking Nearly 700 Black Teenage Girls

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In Florence, South Carolina, a local party promoter/DJ known as DJ KIDD has been arrested and charged with human trafficking and sex crimes. Jason Roger Pope, 42, boasted on FaceBook that he had “693 BODIES (All Black females)”, but his partners are all believed to have been minors.

A concerned neighbor told WMBF news that he long held suspicions Pope was conducting illicit activities from his Lakeview Drive residence. Speaking anonymously, he said, “I suspected a long time ago that things weren’t right over there because of who he had coming in and out.” He continued, “seeing who he had next door, these young girls, they looked like they were very young, underage maybe, and they stayed over there and then they’d disappear.”

Multiple Arrests without Prosecution

Pope’s oldest arrest records date back to December 2011 where he was implicated in a sexual misconduct call from a local hospital. The victim, a 13 year-old-girl, told Florence County Sheriff’s Office deputies that she had unprotected sex with Pope and was concerned he had AIDS. Introduced to him by a friend, the victim said Pope provided her with marijuana and alcohol before assaulting her. The Sheriff’s Office was also informed by a second victim that she could have contracted HIV which stoked community fears that he was purposefully infecting Black girls. Previous records indicate Jason Roger Pope had a pattern of targeting minors. Between 2011 and 2019, Pope was arrested nine times for sex crimes against minors, nearly all taking place at his home.

Jason Roger Pope was arrested and charged with three counts of trafficking in persons, three counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct, and one count each of second-degree criminal sexual conduct with a minor, kidnapping, and promoting prostitution of a minor. Unashamed of his crimes, Pope’s FaceBook contains almost trophy-like photo albums of his suspected victims leading authorities to call those affected by his cruelty to come forward.

Anyone with additional information is encouraged to contact South Carolina Law Enforcement Division at 866-472-8477

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Sallie Mae Execs Party in Hawaii as Nation Struggles with Student Debt Crisis

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The country’s student debt crisis has reached $1.6 trillion. With $5 billion added to the astronomical balance in one year alone, Sallie Mae execs can think of no other way to celebrate — a five-day paid trip to Maui.

For the nearly 45 million Americans saddled with student loan debt, news of a lavish trip funded by Sallie Mae hits hard. Yesterday, news broke that the lending group treated their executives and more than 100 employees to a five-day stay at the luxury Fairmont resort on Wailea beach in Maui. In the wake of public outrage, the company is attempting to downplay the expense of what they call “a sales get-together.”

Record Debt

Insisting the trip to Wailea beach is no different than any other company retreat, Sallie Mae CEO Ray Quinlan spoke to NBC News to clear the air. The executive asserts the voyage was not an incentive trip. However, the cause for their venture is undeniably connected to record numbers. As the company reaches the end of its third-quarter, Sallie Mae is already doing record numbers. By August, the company recorded 374,000 borrowers who are sharing a debt of $5 billion. As executives flit from one meeting to another during the company retreat, their plans to expand their loan offerings are not limited to education financing. Earlier this week, Sallie Mae announced a line of credit cards targeted toward college students and recent graduates.

Pairing with Mastercard, Sallie Mae has announced the Ignite, Accelerate, and Evolve cards. Claiming the goal is to “establish credit and do so responsibly”, the cash back cards are being marketed to those who are already struggling with student loan debt.

With so much of the country fighting for the cancellation of student loan debt, calls for a federal investigation into the business practices of Sallie Mae have never been so timely.

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