A party planned on Nov. 7 at a University of Michigan fraternity has been cancelled because of it’s “hood ratchetness” theme. Theta Xi fraternity invited people to “World Star Hip Hop Presents: Hood Ratchet Thursday.” The event, which has since been removed, extended to: “rappers, twerkers, gangsters (no Bloods allowed), thugs, basketball players, bad bitches, ratchet pussy.” It also promised a Kindle to the winner of a twerking contest.
“Started from da bottom now we here but now we goin back to da hood again!!” the invitation continued.
I wish that we lived in an age where we as people could collectively celebrate the music that we consume without aggravating racial sensitivities. It pains me to see that “hip-hop parties” are immediately cast under a racial lens, even if not so intended. Just because we celebrate and enjoy the music and terminology used by predominantly Black hip-hop artists, that does not mean we are attempting to appropriate Black culture. We take it for what it is, and that’s hip hop as music, and thus, hip-hip culture. If current hip hop is dominated by terminology like “twerking,” “ratchet,” and “swag,” then that’s what its audience absorbs as hip hop: it doesn’t have to be Black. But if people perceive it as so, then I agree that it’s completely inappropriate.
Not everyone expressed the same views as Wu, when it came to this hood themed party. Geralyn Gaines, secretary of the Black Student Union, said she was disgusted:
I love U of M and even today I’m fundamentally happy, but it’s scary to think that I sit in class with people who think this way and people that agree with them, people who legitimately thought this party was a good idea and was okay,” Gaines told the paper. “The invitation amplified stereotypes and used a level of disgusting language that it was evident they actively tried to offend us.
On Thursday, the university emailed students to condemn the party. Read the full letter on WJBK-TV.
“The language of the invitation and theme of the party denigrated all women and African American/black identified people through racial stereotypes and cultural appropriation,” the letter said. “This behavior is offensive, disrespectful and unacceptable at the University of Michigan. It is unhealthy and harms everyone in the community. It is in direct contradiction to the values, policies and expectations of the University and will not be tolerated.”