Students in charge of concert acts
By Tyler Shore, Ashley Scott, and Ryan Fricke
This isn’t our first Eaglepalooza.
For the past four of them, rap artists and other musicians have come to Florida Gulf Coast University. And they came with racy words and notions regarding marijuana, loose women and sexual, alcohol-induced exploration. They came before we even knew we were Dunk City.
But now Ludacris is coming to our Palooza, and Lee County Sheriff Mike Scott isn’t having it. In an email to FGCU President Wilson Bradshaw, Scott strongly advised against the performance. Scott said he was outraged our school would allow someone of “questionable character” to use the n-word at our concert. The sheriff’s daughter attends FGCU, and Scott voiced his concern “as a parent.”
Scott told Bradshaw he didn’t believe the color of our school’s president matters, but then said, “I would think that you would be especially opposed to anyone or any act tied so closely to the university that spews the n-word.” Scott first appears color-blind, then contradicts himself.
Wiz Khalifa, performer at last year’s Eaglepalooza, used the n-word. And most of Khalifa’s songs are about smoking pot and sex, such as these lyrics from “Smokin’ On” and “I’m Gonna Ride”:
“Bet you get high but I ain’t smoking with the rest though,
Cause if it’s in my joint, believe that it’s the best smoke.”
“Sick a n—-, run over switches states, macking broads getting cake.”
Not only do Khalifa’s lyrics often make little sense, but they also actually degrade women and promote drug use.
While Ludacris’ lyrics are sometimes equally racy and profane, they don’t deserve such sudden, irate opposition from our sheriff.
Khalifa’s “character” could be considered more “questionable” than Ludacris,’ but no backlash was made so abundantly evident then. Why now? Because we’re Dunk City?
In closing the email, Sheriff Scott told President Bradshaw, “You run the show there, Brad … not the students.”
However, at least when it comes to our own festivities, the students really are in charge.
Sheriff has genuine safety concerns
By Meilin Tompkins ,
and Mac Scott
Lee County Sheriff Mike Scott has been under fire recently regarding his security concerns about Florida Gulf Coast University’s annual Eaglepalooza concert. The programming board was going to hold the event at JetBlue Park, featuring performances by rap sensations Ludacris and Kendrick Lamar, but it was moved to Germain Arena, and Lamar has backed out.
Scott expressed deep concerns regarding the offensive nature of the rapper’s lyrics, and the influence that this music has on violence in the community. He has been attacked relentlessly online for these concerns.
One such attack, by Twitter user @ austinvillian, called Scott “the biggest f—– sheriff ever.” A comment by naplesdailynews. com user “Aoxomoxoa1,” said “Mike Scott IS an idiot. Why doesn’t he do something about the problems in Ft Myers?”
These attacks come despite the fact that there is pressing evidence supporting Scott’s views on the offensive lyrics.
According to Colorado police, as reported by the New York Times, a “spate of shootings” and a “rising murder rate” in Colorado Springs can be explained by the increased popularity of a thriving hip-hop club located in an empty strip mall. Police spokesman Lt. Skip Arms told the Times that, while they don’t want to generalize an entire genre of music, “We’re looking at a subcomponent that typically glorifies, promotes criminal behavior and demeans women.”
Some of Ludacris’ lyrics that are causing unease include “Muthaf—–’m so tired of y’all n– —- always talkin’/ ‘bout hoes this, hoes that, you the muthaf—— hoe n*—–.”
Some of Scott’s most vocal worries are with regard to Ludacris frequent use of “the N-word,”
Many people are using this concern to lampoon Scott as a racist, even though President Barack Obama himself is ashamed at Ludacris’ lyrics.
The rapper posted a pro-Obama music video in 2008, which quickly went viral. The controversial video, according to The Telegraph UK, “describes Senator Hilary Clinton as a b—-” and then-President George W. Bush as “mentally handicapped,” and the Obama administration quickly distanced itself from it.
“Rap lyrics today too often perpetuate misogyny, materialism, and degrading images,” said the administration, “that [Obama] doesn’t want his daughters or any children exposed to.”
So why is everyone attacking Scott when he is simply expressing valid concerns for the safety of our community and our future leaders? Why is he being speared as a racist, when he is merely echoing concerns first brought to light by Obama? Now that Eaglepalooza is being held away from a county park, which Scott called “a place that stands for community decency and family values” in a Naples Daily News article, the Lee County Sheriff’s Office will be working with Germain Arena regarding security. Scott is not attempting to derail a fun night of school spirit; he is trying to keep all of us as safe as possible.
Ludacris controversy over words and the ideas they represent
Circumstances have already shaken up Eaglepalooza. Kendrick Lamar dropped out to tour with Kanye West, and the venue changed from JetBlue Park back to Germain Arena.
But the biggest shake-up has been Lee County Sheriff Mike Scott taking issue with Ludacris’ lyrics and themes, citing specifically the rapper’s use of “the N-word,” his attitude toward women and his references to violence. Scott claims that FGCU is condoning these themes by booking Ludacris. Predictably, many students oppose Scott’s viewpoint. Our poll on Eaglenews.org, while by no means scientific, shows 81 percent disagreement with Scott. Thirteen percent agree, and 7 percent are undecided.
It’s no surprise since rap moves money at FGCU. Pitbull in 2011, for example, sold almost twice as many tickets as Taking Back Sunday that same year (6,700 to 3,403), according to a report by The News-Press.
Students don’t see Ludacris’s lyrics as a problem.
Student Government President Juan Cubillo made a distinction in an online interview with me, saying, “Ludacris is an entertainer. He is an artist. Artists say controversial things in their music to make money and generate listeners….and I think we’re all old and mature enough to understand that it’s just entertainment.
“I personally don’t listen to much rap or hip-hop, but I can appreciate Ludacris because though I don’t agree with all that he says, I can tell he’s being honest in his music,” he said.
Scott’s assertion that FGCU is condoning Ludacris’s themes is inaccurate. There are people on campus who disagree with Ludacris’s consistent objectification of women and promotion of violence. You’re reading the column of one objector right now.
After all, who in their right mind calls for “disturbing the peace?”
Let’s get a few things straight:
1) FGCU’s programming board has every right to book Ludacris.
2) Scott has every right to disagree personally.
3) Censorship of any kind is never the answer.
Ludacris’s profanity isn’t the problem. “Bad words” are hardly damaging; the misogynistic and violent themes are the real problem. Which is why radio censorship doesn’t make sense. If you bleep out “Move, B—-,” but the message stays the same, what have you really done?
Maybe I’m lame, and maybe I sound like the old man yelling at the neighborhood kids to get off my lawn, but I lack whatever special ingredient it is to see the merit in Ludacris.
Will anyone who listens to a Ludacris song go out and imitate what they heard? No, of course not. And I’m not a moral arbiter, but you have to look at the broader picture here and ask why exactly we culturally accept these themes under the guise of entertainment. Really, don’t most of us respect women? And we don’t have an inclination to violence, right? Then why is it OK to put these into a song that reaches millions of people? Just because it makes for a nice evening concert?
Cubillo posted on Facebook on Aug. 30 “How about we all film Ludacris performing ‘Move ****’ at Eaglepalooza and send the video to Sheriff Mike Scott…,” which has 87 likes as of Tuesday.
This is an irresponsible way for a student body president to represent his constituency, by disrespecting a community figure. Of course, like Scott, Cubillo has every right to express his thoughts, and he is not the only student to take to social media to express his displeasure with Scott’s remarks.
Cubillo, in the same online interview, said his comment was “intended to mean that the voice of 14,000 students is not to be taken lightly. We are 14,000 strong Eagles, and if we want to have Ludacris come here, then that’s what’s going to happen. We are adults, and I expect the sheriff to respect us like we respect him.”
The narrative that has unfolded in wake of this controversy echoes entitlement. It’s as if the discussion over Ludacris’s themes doesn’t matter — students just don’t want an authority figure trying to dictate what they should or shouldn’t do.
Take a step back from your own, subjective perspective and ask if it’s OK for someone with the ability to reach millions and millions to talk about treating women like “hoes” and “blood spillin’ like a faulty faucet.” I’ve written off musicians (sometimes ones I used to respect) before for putting out garbage. I consider it conscientious consumption.
If you think it’s fine and can justify it, then by all means enjoy your concert. All I ask is for you to think about it.
Andrew is a senior majoring in journalism. He goes to far too many concerts, suffers from severe wanderlust and takes pictures of things sometimes.