White reggae band wears dreadlocks – organizer cancels concert
A concert in Switzerland was canceled because visitors felt “uncomfortable” at the sight of a white reggae band with dreadlocks. The organizer even apologized for “awareness gaps”. The band’s singer defends himself – with reference to his dark-skinned grandmother.
IIn the Swiss capital of Bern, the concert by the reggae band Lauwarm was canceled by the organizer after several spectators complained about “cultural appropriation”. They felt “uncomfortable with the situation” because two members of a white Swiss band wore dreadlocks, the band also played Jamaican reggae music and also wore colored clothes from Senegal and Gambia.
The owners of the venue – the cultural venue and restaurant “Brasserie Lorraine” – then decided, after talking to the band, to call off the concert. The whole thing happened on July 18 and was picked up by several Swiss media. Now, over a week later, the organizers released another statement.
“We would like to apologize to everyone who felt bad about the concert. We failed to deal with it enough in advance and to protect you, ”says a Facebook post from the brasserie. “Our awareness gaps and the reaction of many guests to the cancellation of the concert have shown us once again that the topic is emotionally charged”.
On August 19, there will also be a “discussion round on the subject of cultural appropriation”. There, it is emphasized, “racism and other forms of discrimination would not have a millimeter of space”.
“I have slave ancestors from Africa,” emphasizes the singer
The singer of the band “Lauwarm”, Dominik Plumettaz, told “Blick” that the whole process had “totally alienated the band”. There was a good atmosphere during the first half of the concert. “People were happy, there was no sense of discomfort.” Only during the break was the organizer informed of the complaints. “Unfortunately, the critics remained invisible and we were unable to seek dialogue with them, which we very much regret.”
Plumettaz considers the accusation of “cultural appropriation” to be absurd. “I understand that certain people are sensitive to this topic, but music thrives on the mix of cultures,” he emphasized. “We have been combining elements of reggae, pop and indie world in our sound for years and have never had a problem with it”.
In addition, his grandmother was dark-skinned. “I have slave ancestors from Africa. But that doesn’t really matter either. Because if we separated influences and cultures so strictly, then as a Swiss musician you would generally only be able to play folk music, which would be pretty monotonous”.