In Boston Mayoral Race, Black Voters Demand Nightclubs Play More Hip-Hop
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From the Boston Globe news section:

Unfair dress codes, refusal to play hip-hop, few local clubs: These are the issues around nightlife in Boston that Black voters hope a new mayor will tackle

By Sahar Fatima Globe Staff, Updated November 1, 2021

As Boston gears up for a historic Election Day, it’s worth looking back at some of the issues voters implored the candidates to address. In addition to major concerns like housing, education, and policing, another issue also garnered some lively debate: inequities in Boston’s nightlife scene.

A community forum organized last month by George (Chip) Greenidge Jr., director of Greatest MINDS Boston, a nonprofit focused on cultivating the next generation of civic leaders, highlighted the ways in which Boston’s party scene is failing its Black communities.

At the Late Debate forum, about 80 people discussed the issue until the early morning hours at Kay’s Oasis, one of the only nightclubs in Mattapan. Both mayoral candidates Annissa Essaibi George and Michelle Wu participated, as well as several City Council at-large candidates. …

Dress codes are still unfairly keeping people out

It’s common for nightclubs to have a dress code, but to many, they are thinly veiled attempts to keep out Black people, and Black men in particular. …

“In the city, the dress code was implemented to keep us out of the clubs,” Marv Neal, general manager of 98.1FM The UrbanHeat, told Nee-Walsh during the Late Debate.

In an interview with The Boston Globe, Neal, who has worked as a club promoter, said there was a time when people could wear anything to a club, but at some point, establishments set rules around what types of clothing were banned.

“And these certain items of clothing [were] very specific to what young Black people were wearing at the time,” Neal said.

Some people at the event said dress codes weren’t enforced equally; white men would get in wearing the same type of clothes or shoes that kept Black men out. And some said they were less likely to be enforced on Black people on Monday, Tuesday, or Wednesday nights compared to prime evenings later in the week.

Refusing to play hip-hop is all too common

Another way Boston clubs often block Black folks from enjoying themselves is by refusing to play hip-hop, or refusing to host hip-hop centered events, some said.

Nomadik, a local DJ who also attended the Late Debate, said in an interview that in her experience, newer clubs or those trying to get more people in the door would open their venues up for hip-hop nights.

“But once it’s up and running and they’re having a lot of different things being booked, then all of a sudden, there’s no more hip-hop,” she said.

Neal said that as an events promoter, he’s been asked by club owners what kind of music he intends to play.

“If I say hip-hop and R&B, it’s like, ‘Oh no, we don’t do that here,’” he said.

At the same debate, the increasingly powerful White Nerd Alliance announced that they don’t care about nightlife because they never leave their rooms, but that they will throw their votes behind whichever mayoral candidate commits to getting Warner to greenlight Dune sequels through God Emperor of Dune. They went on to clarify that they were indifferent to filming the last two of Frank Herbert’s sequels and fanatically opposed to making movies out of Brian Herbert’s pale imitations.

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