Controversy Erupts Over Columbia Free Times Music Crawl

Columbia Free Times‘ annual Music Crawl faced an unexpected controversy when a venue backed out after learning that hip-hop music would be performed:

Told that Music Crawl venues don’t approve the bands that will play there, [club owner Bill] Dickinson says, “I don’t care what the other venues do; we have standards. We’re a classic rock venue.”

“You basically have your publication promoting people who use the F-word and use the N-word in their lyrics and you want them to play in my place. And they’re not going to play in my place,” Dickinson says. “And if you think that’s racist, publish it. Because a lot of African-Americans that are my customers are going to say ‘Hey, yeah, hell yeah.’ … You guys are playing the race card and you guys are basically trying to justify foul-mouthed music,” Dickinson says.

The Columbia Free Times subsequently issued a statement that said, “Free Times was appalled by Dickinson’s comments and moved its Music Crawl hip-hop stage to another club in the Vista, Moda Lounge. Free Times supports Columbia’s hip-hop culture and opposes efforts to stereotype or marginalize the artists who create it.”