The Collegian
Sunday, July 12, 2020

Letter: Long live CAB, cheers to Afroman

Contrary to Emily Miller's dire warnings and cynical predictions (see 'Afroman to perform: joke's on us'), I found the Afroman concert during Pig Roast to be enjoyable and enriching. Her attacks on Afroman's talent and career proved to be patently ridiculous.

Afroman was neither "washed up" nor "drugged out." He's a well-known artist who was perfectly conscious during his performance. If he attracts enough fans to continue performing, why bother passing judgment on the value of his material? The market has spoken, and lots of people enjoy his music.

People claimed that Afroman's songs glorify drug use, sexism, violence and racism, as this was their basis for trying to squash his performance before it began. These claims are largely baseless. I suspect that the people making them didn't care one way or another, so long as it gave them the ability to force their worldviews on others.

I personally don't see any problem with the enjoyment of recreational drugs, and believe that people ought to be allowed to do what they please so long as they don't harm others. Shame on feminists and women's rights activists who would bash recreational drugs — if you give the moralists the ability to ban marijuana based on promoting the general welfare, you give them carte blanche to cite the same principle when they endeavor to take away your access to birth control.

Not once during Afroman's performance did I hear anything about raping or killing women. Many feminists reading this will cite the objectification of women as problematic, but I don't see anything wrong with appreciating the aesthetics of the human body separate from the personality it contains. Doubtless if Peaches had performed, her objectification of men would be celebrated by some feminists as liberation of female sexuality (and I would have been celebrating with them).

Even if you think Afroman's content is offensive, you have to understand that most of his music draws inspiration from the real world. I somehow doubt that Joseph Foreman grew up in an upper-middle-class utopia, and it's highly probable that he lacked some of the educational advantages that you and I enjoyed while growing up in East Pomdale. Much of the so-called racism in Afroman's lyrics has to do with experiencing racism and discrimination. In some cases they even highlight real societal problems having to do with prejudice, i.e., lyrics such as "when the Afroman went through the white land houses when up for sale."

Afroman does occasionally pay homage to negative ethnic stereotypes, but he manages to make fun of almost everyone ... if you can't laugh occasionally about your own ethnicity or gender, you need to grow a sense of humor or become a hermit — the world is too harsh a place for your paper-thin skin.

As for Afroman's "potential to feed a dangerous fire on our campus," I haven't observed a huge change in the ideological climate at UR or the behavior displayed by its students. Perhaps this is because we live in the age of the Internet, and everyone has already heard it before. In an age of cheap and accessible information, trying to control the beliefs and words of others by reducing their exposure to alternative ideas is completely futile, and those who would try are wasting their time.

In closing, I hope Afroman's successful performance stands as a lesson in liberty to all those groups on campus (you know who you are) who would attempt to censor those they don't agree with — it's counterproductive, and ultimately you don't have the power to impose your beliefs on others.

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