Letter to the Editor

Removal of Ace Hood from Orange Madness represents misconception of rap

A campus speaker asked last spring whether technology was saving society or destroying it.

Today, I’m leaning toward the latter.

I envy the days where when someone had something ignorant to say, you could walk away. Today, any person with a computer forces himself to be heard.

Basically: after SU Athletics announced rapper Ace Hood would be performing at Syracuse Basketball’s annual Orange Madness, an article was written on Syracuse.com inferring that Ace Hood’s performance would be profane and could incite violence. A small group of outraged Syracuse citizens took to the comments section of Syracuse.com to similarly express their fears and concerns. SU has given in to their demands.

SU Athletics’ decision to remove Ace Hood from their Orange Madness event defines true madness. Yes — last year’s event, which included a stabbing incident, was unfortunate. In five years on this campus, it’s the only time I can say I didn’t feel safe.

However, that incident was due to people. Not music. That stabbing happened because a knife was let into the Carrier Dome. Not because a rapper was in town.

The assumption is that a rapper will promote and invite gang violence. At best, it’s an absurd comment; at worst, it’s a racist belief. And if you do truly believe a musical act will bring violence — don’t you think a $5 basketball event featuring the Syracuse Basketball Team caters to the same type of crowd you are afraid of?

To those worried about the violent lyrics — do you actually believe SU would let Ace Hood take the stage at this event and curse? What’s wrong with censoring lyrics? Even The Rolling Stones were forced to censor lyrics during the Super Bowl halftime show.

Maybe some have forgotten the good this event has done. Bringing rappers Meek Mill in 2011 and Wale in 2012 (who performed a total of five songs combined in the two years) not only nearly tripled attendance numbers, but was huge for recruits-turned-players. Current players Jerami Grant, Tyler Ennis, BJ Johnson and Chinonso Obokoh were all present at one of those two events. In fact, Tyler Ennis’ (this year’s starting point guard) first time experiencing Syracuse was as an uncommitted high school student at Midnight Madness in 2011.

As a Newhouse graduate, I get the PR move. But stop the madness. It’s time for SU to stand up for itself and not back down when a select few behind a keyboard complain. Or I truly will believe technology will destroy society.

Kevin Belbey
Syracuse University College of Law
J.D. Candidate 2016


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