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Column: Action Bronson’s lyrics can’t create an unsafe space for concert-goers

Column%3A+Action+Bronsons+lyrics+cant+create+an+unsafe+space+for+concert-goers

I’ve refrained from passing judgement on the “safe space” issue on college campuses for a while now. If a student feels they need a safe space or feels threatened in any way, especially if that person is a minority, then maybe safe spaces are warranted. It’s really not my place to say. It’s not affecting any people adversely, so even if I personally think it’s a bit much, it really doesn’t matter.

But college kids wimped out too hard with this latest stunt.

Student protesters at Trinity College started a petition last week that removed the peculiar but critically-acclaimed rapper Action Bronson from performing at their Spring Weekend event.

Bronson is a chubby, bearded rapper from New York with an affinity for food—he used to work as a chef—and obscure sports references, which are often mentioned in his songs. He uses clever rhymes and often some shocking lyrics to deliver a pretty nice flow.

He’s a mid/major player in the rap game today. He’s not a superstar, but he’s fairly high-profile and loved by many who like his laid-back style.

The specific reasons for his dis-invitation that the protesters highlighted were his violent lyrics and the fact he “is infamous for violently assaulting people at his concerts.” They also claimed that bringing Bronson in would produce a “drastically unsafe space for women, LGBTQIA+ students, and survivors of sexual assault.”

Really, one musical performer could do all that?

To disinvite him to your school based on a few lyrics in his songs is a showcase of immaturity and a missed opportunity to watch an awesome show.

Even the assault accusation is a little out of context. The instances being referred to are times that fans rushed Bronson on-stage, and he either pushed them off or body-slammed them and let security deal with the problem. I’m fairly sure if you charge a famous performer on stage you’ll get assaulted by security.

The petition read, “It only takes one person to drunkenly (or soberly) upset Action Bronson by getting on stage, or in his way, for him to violently assault someone.”

If you are climbing on-stage and running at a performer at a campus event, you are the problem, not the performer.

Just the idea that a dude rapping on a stage would be an affront to students and may be physically harmful for them is dripping in so much overbearing fragility that it’s difficult to read the petition without laughing.

College is a pretty sweet time where opportunities are at a premium and the responsibilities of the real world have not fully hit us. That sugary mixture gives way to some very fun experiences. Trinity College, why not take advantage of one you have right now?

No one is forced to go to the concert and the petitioners really screwed it up for anyone who was excited about going.

To criticize Bronson for being misogynistic and violent is to criticize every popular rapper in the game right now. I’m not saying it’s right, but rap culture is far more liberal in celebrating violence and using derogatory terms for women, and it doesn’t necessarily mean the people who are saying these things are speaking in literal terms or even condoning the actions portrayed in their lyrics.

College students, who often claim to be the most open-minded of people, flipping out over a rap concert is just sad. I thought we could handle a few F-bombs and vulgar jokes.

So, while Trinity gets ready for its spring concert—which is now probably headlined by Josh Groban, who I am certain won’t unleash a reign of terror over the campus as Bronson surely would have. Let’s think about this issue.

Truly threatening behavior that compromises safety shouldn’t be tolerated on any college campus, but there is a 3-foot long, bold red line between threatening behavior and some throwaway lyrics at a rap concert.

And Mr. Bronson: You are welcome at the UA anytime.


Follow Scott Baca on Twitter.


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