In response to the Rabbit Hole’s Rob Nixon and Charlotte’s ongoing problem with racist venue owners
As a Charlotte native, born and raised, I have no qualms expressing how underwhelmed I was by the article released last month in Charlotte Magazine entitled “Charlotte’s Dynamic Hip-Hop Scene Struggles to Find a Stage”.
For an article about the lack of welcoming venue spaces in Charlotte, there was so much rich culture and history that went unexplored and so many deserving voices that should’ve been heard on the subject. No mention of The Underground? New Era House? DUPP & SWAT? The list goes on…
One silver lining, though, was a couple of venue owners expressing ignorant and prejudiced views on hip-hop culture, and doing so on the record. Nothing stated was news to myself or any of the other creatives who have been struggling to find solid venue spaces in town. But Rob Nixon who owns The Rabbit Hole had the audacity to refer to something I’ve loved since I was a child as “thuggishness,” and that lit a flame inside me.
An art form that has spread across the world over the past four decades, and activated so much joy, was reduced to simply “thuggishness.”
A vehicle that has allowed so many disenfranchised and impoverished people to create and express themselves artistically is just “thuggishness.”
The same music the children of that venue owner and his colleagues probably play on a regular basis is just “thuggishness”.
I couldn’t abide it. We desperately need more diverse spaces here in Charlotte. Places where our black and brown residents can actually showcase their talents. We’re already not valued at establishments such as Krazy Fish and the Pizza Peel, but I’ll be damned if venues such as The Rabbit Hole and Neighborhood Theater (also mentioned in the Charlotte Magazine story) are allowed to continue with their exclusionary practices any longer while taking money from our community.
I curated the show “Thuggishness: A Celebration of Hip-Hop” to celebrate all the amazing hip-hop our city has to offer, and I chose to book it at Snug Harbor (just a leisurely walk from the Rabbit Hole), because it’s one of a handful of venues in town where I feel comfortable on any given night.
The issue of some venues in Charlotte not allowing hip-hop acts to book them, or requiring ridiculous deposits and security staff, has been a headache for decades now; it’s up to us to put our foot down, and spend our dollars where they’re deserved.
Thuggishness: A Celebration of Hip-hop was attended by over 100 people Wednesday night and the most-used word attendees uttered when we asked them to describe it was “love.”
Performers included a new class every music writer, performer and enthusiast should have their eyes on:
Photo credit: Brian Twitty
With a classical background, and an ear for the nuances of all genres, Simon SMTHNG has been constantly redefining himself as a producer and DJ. Whether crafting melodic yet bass-heavy anthems, or composed conceptual and emotional albums, the Charlotte, NC native breathes purpose into each of his creations.
25 Yrs old. “I love making music more than anything in the world. I do it for the love and preservation of all music culture! I love my fans and appreciate anybody who appreciates my art.”
The Turntable Wieldin’ Vibe Dealer.
DJ & Producer from London, England.
Photo credit: Brian Twitty
Yung Citizen is a new artist whose music comprises his love of hip-hop along with infusions of R&B and pop to deliver smooth, melodic creations accompanied by a poignant and uplifting message.
“Wisdom Love Light Peace”
An Akron, Ohio native, King Callis started writing music at the age of 10. However it wasn’t until his teenage years that he started actually recording his music and taking it seriously. His relocation to Charlotte, North Carolina, and later meeting a few key players in the underground music scene, gave Callis the breakthrough he needed to cement him on the scene as a major player.