Tinariwen recently announced a world tour, one that very noticeably skirts around the southern United States. After the tour was announced, it appears the choice to avoid most of the South was a smart choice for the band of Saharan Tuareg musicians, who have won Grammys and opened for groups like the Rolling Stones and worked with Robert Plant. They are generally considered one of the more popular world-music groups in the world, with fans across the globe.
One of the few stops on the band’s tour that does stop south of the Mason-Dixon line is in Winston-Salem, NC, a mid-size city that’s the largest in the Piedmont Triad metro area. The band will be playing that city at the Ramkat on September 17. The Triad City Beat reports that after the show was announced recently, The Ramkat’s Facebook event page for the show was flooded with a barrage of racist comments and jokes.
Comments include “Any true American will not support this bunch of trash. Let them perform in their own country. They need to get out of the USA.” That sentiment tracks with recent news that came out of North Carolina at a Trump rally, where the crowd chanted for over 10 seconds “Send her back” in response to the president bringing up Congresswomean Ilahn Omar’s name.
Other comments included “Ain’t looking at nothing Muslim. The wanna-be religion that’s the plague of the world,” “Desert Rats in Winston-Salem, NC!!! Hope they all have green cards!!!!” and “Look like terrorists to me. Um no way.” The posts have been deleted, but see a screengrab below (from Triad City Beat):
One partner of the Ramkat, Richard Emmet says that in all his years of booking shows he’s never seen a response like this. The band has booked four bands from Africa in its year and a half existence. “If you’re talking about wanting to have Western values, rock music is one of the best ways to get a wedge in the door,” said Emmett to Triad City Beat. “They play electric guitars! The comments about ISIS — these guys ban music. Tinariwen promotes music.”
The venue states that they will talk to the management of Tinariwen regarding the racist comments and plan to hire extra security due to the allusions of violence in some comments. There will also likely be police presence from the city’s department.
Photo Credit: Raymond Flotat