Betty Bonifassi (center) sings about picking cotton along with cast members of the musical SLĀV
Screenshot: Canadian Broadcasting Corporation

The world’s biggest jazz festival was forced to end the run of one of its most popular shows after protesters objected to the musical that featured white people picking cotton while a white woman warbled organic, gluten-free, kale-wrapped negro spirituals. Ain’t that good news?

Scheduled for five shows, the musical SLĀV was such a surprise runaway hit at Canada’s Montreal Jazz Festival that producers of the festival added 11 additional shows due to overwhelming demand for the $60-90 tickets. Produced by acclaimed white man Robert Lepage, the theatrical extravaganza featured the dingo-like vocal stylings of Betty Bonifassi performing “many eras of black music including slave songs, work songs, railroad songs, field songs, prisoners’ songs, laments and lullabies.”

Advertisement

After protesters showed up on opening night to instruct the mildewed marshmallow singing soulless versions of freedom songs where to follow the drinking gourd to, Bonifassi and Lepage took to Facebook to let the protesters know they ain’t gon’ let nobody turn them around, writing: “Do we have the right to tell these stories? Audience members will have the opportunity to decide after having seen the show.”

Well, it looks like they decided.

Reports say Mary could be seen weeping and apparently, no one even informed Martha that she shouldn’t moan. According to the New York Times, an audience member even held up a sign that said: “Is there nothing y’all won’t steal? White culture is theft.”

Advertisement

Even though the Montreal Jazz Festival had sold more than 8,000 tickets, the festival closed the show on Wednesday after only two performances. Organizers said they were “shaken” by the intensity of the response and decided to lay their burdens down by the riverside and study whiteness no more.

“We would like to apologize to those who were hurt,” festival producers said in a statement. “It was not our intention at all.”

As a descendant of enslaved people, I offer the following response to the Montreal Jazz Festival’s apology:

If you weren’t aware that stealing the most painful part of an entire group of a people’s past, whitewashing it and then allowing the people who benefitted from the historical mass kidnapping, rape and genocide to double back and profit from that theft could possibly be a bad thing, then the audacity of whiteness must be the most insipidly evil thing that ever existed on the face of the earth.

Advertisement

But then again, your entire festival is based on jazz, out of which you sucked the soul and pain so you can sell it to Birkenstock-wearing festival goers to writhe around as they bathe in the gifts stolen from the negro hearts and gentrified by crooked caucasian fingers who have historically plucked out our eyes because our blindness makes them feel like they can see better. Fuck your apology, white people.

And if you’re white but you’re not racist, this doesn’t apply to you. However, if you feel hurt by my previous statement...

I apologize. That was not my intention.

See how it feels?