I just wanted to share some thoughts on Ani DiFrano’s “Righteous Retreat“. I would have loved to link the Facebook event, but Ani or Ani’s team completely erased the event after her page literally exploded following a few white people making a “stink” about it. I mention the race of the writers because, for a couple of weeks, black people had several concerns that were voiced on Ani Difranco’s FB page and almost no fucks were given, until white feminists who happen to be writers got the typing and tweeting– THEN and only then did Ani DiFranco decide to utilize her brain cells and address the situation. HOWEVER, when addressed, she did not apologize; White Tears of martyrdom flowed and Ms DiFranco issued a faux-pology — a fake apology in which, no sorry was given, explained her intentions (which we already knew but who really gives a fuck about your intentions, when you caused so much damage), waggled her finger at the responses from PoCs and their allies and then tried to put a guilt trip on folk, talking about (paraphrased) “Now that I’ve canceled the event, all that money won’t go to the children!”
Here’s some main points of her faux-pology in all it’s white privileged glory (full faux-pology here ) :
later, when i found out it was to be held at a resort on a former plantation, I thought to myself, “whoa”, but i did not imagine or understand that the setting of a plantation would trigger such collective outrage or result in so much high velocity bitterness.
STOP. So what you’re saying is, that after being told that the “retreat” was to be held on a plantation and it made you say “Whoa” as a white woman, you didn’t think that it would drudge up some questions and concerns from black women? Had you have not erased the page in cowardice, you would have seen that there was NO HATRED whatsoever on your page, people only wanted you to change the location of the event, because who really should be singing and kumbaya-ing over land that so many men, women and children that have raped, tortured and killed? Bitterness? So People of Color voicing their concern about the location of your event as well as your team’s silence about said concerns is high velocity bitterness? Nice gaslighting technique.
i believe that people must go to those places with awareness and with compassionate energy and meditate on what has happened and absorb some of the reverberating pain with their attention and their awareness.
Meditate on what though? What you’re charging tickets for (starting at $1,000), is something that could easily be learned by googling, going to a library, YouTube-ing, buying books off of Amazon (which is what should be done ANYWAY)! People should be educating themselves! What the fuck are you absorbing? Something else that your ancestors didn’t go through? How are you relating? Who the hell are you to open this discussion? Who the fuck has a retreat on a plantation? Especially one that calls itself a resort?
i know that the pain of slavery is real and runs very deep and wide. however, in this incident i think is very unfortunate what many have chosen to do with that pain.
Translation: I know it’s painful, but ya’ll are being overly dramatic and not seeing what I was trying to do. Can’t you see what work I was trying to do? I’m a good white woman. We see what you were trying to do, but you were doing it WRONG. But instead of apologizing, you decide to tell us what to do with our feelings. You know what I think is very unfortunate? That you have fans that say things like “People are still bitching about slavery?” on your page. I’m willing to bet that the majority of people going to this “Righteous Retreat” are on the same lines of that type of thought pattern.
as to the matter of the current owner of the resort and his political leanings, that was brought to my attention yesterday and it does disturb me. but it also begs further questions: who are all the owners of all the venues i or any other musician play?
That could be researched by your team and you can pick and choose where to play. Just as easy as it was to find the owner of your resort funds, anti-gay groups and such, I’m sure your team can research where you play… that is of course if you really freaking care. Who cares about any other musician? We are talking about YOU and your mistake. You are in the spotlight, so take responsibility.
the performing arts centers? the theaters? the night clubs? i bet there are a lot of rich white dudes with conservative political leanings on the list. is it possible to separate the positive from the negative people in this world? will those lines be clear and discernible with enough research? is it my job to do this for every gig? is it possible to ensure that no ‘bad’ person will ever profit in any way from my existence or my work?
All this deflection of responsibility is sickening.
again, maybe we should indeed have drawn a line in this case and said nottoway plantation is not a good place to go; maybe we should have vetted the place more thoroughly. but should hatred be spit at me over that mistake?
Again, WHAT HATRED? Nobody threatened you. Nobody said the event should be burned down. Black people asked questions for weeks and asked for answers and your team ignored it, but now that it’s caught some traction, now it’s hatred? Sounds like you’re more upset about you receiving enough bad publicity that you had to cancel the event.
i also planned to take the whole group on a field trip to Roots of Music, a free music school for underprivileged kids in New Orleans. Roots of Music is located at the Cabildo, a building in the French Quarter which was the seat of the former slaveholder government where all the laws of the slave state were first written and enacted. i believe that the existence of Roots of Music in this building is transcendent and it would have been a very inspiring place to visit. i also believe that Roots could have gained a few new supporters. in short, i think many positive and life-affirming connections would have been made at this conference, in its all of its complexity of design.
What’s your point? That the supporters wouldn’t have donated and connections wouldn’t have been made if you guys weren’t staying on a plantation?
ALL we asked was for a simple re-location of the event, so black/PoC feminists wouldn’t feel some type of way, never mind the fact that you’re charging up the WAHZOO for this “soul searching”, “Righteous Retreat” (which seems very self-righteous by the way), but instead, you chose to be extra salty about the responses and people ruining your “good intentions”, deleted the whole event, which voiced legit concerns and you have the nerve to say someone else has high velocity bitterness? All this chatter about how good of a person you are and you can’t even say YOU’RE SORRY?
EDIT: Here is the original post Ani DiFranco had for “Righteous Retreat”. Note how no where in this message does it even address the “organic” discussion she planned to have about slavery.
Allow me to invite you down to Louisiana to learn and play with me and some of my friends,
exploring these and a few more of our favorite things!
We will be shacked up at the historic Nottoway Plantation and Resort in White Castle, LA, for 3 days and 4 nights exchanging ideas, making music, and otherwise getting suntans in the light of each other’s company. During the day, myself, Toshi Reagon, Buddy Wakefield, Hamell on Trial and others will lead workshops and lessons that focus on developing one’s singular creativity. In the evenings we will perform for each other and enjoy great food in a captivating setting.
We will arrive on Wednesday afternoon and that evening there will be a cocktail reception and an intimate performance by yours truly. Thursday, Friday and Saturday there will be seminars and jams with a show each evening by one of our illustrious artists/faculty. We will also have a collective outing to New Orleans so I can introduce you to my new hometown and some of the extraordinary things I’ve found there.
Bring your guitar, your journal, your kazoo or just your curiosity and come join us for some mind expanding fun! We have room in the circle for everyone.”