In Light of Tyga Controversy, Students Explore Yardfest Alternatives

One day after the College Events Board and Harvard College Concert Commission released a joint statement reaffirming the choice of Tyga as Yardfest headliner, the artist responded publicly to the opposition at Harvard to his lyrics during an interview with a Los Angeles radio station Tuesday.

“At the end of the day, people have the right to have opinions [and] I have the right to say what I want in my music because it’s my music,” Tyga said during an interview with the hip hop radio station Power 106 FM. “If you don’t like it, don’t click on it, don’t download it.”

His comments come as students dissatisfied with the choice of artist continue to make alternative plans for Saturday evening’s concert.

Tyga described the opposition as “getting out of hand,” citing social media as among the causes for recent heightened scrutiny of rap music.

“I make negative music, but I also make positive music, because that’s what thrown at me with life,” he said.

The announcement in late March that Tyga would be Yardfest’s main performer sparked protest in the Harvard community. A petition launched last week on Change.org describing Tyga’s song lyrics as “explicitly and violently misogynistic” has collected over 2,000 signatures since it went live.

The CEB and HCC, after re-evaluting the choice of artist, announced Monday that Tyga would still perform, but that the rapper would appear later in the evening so that students can hear the opening acts and eat dinner before he takes the stage.

Even with these modifications to the schedule, students opposed to the rapper’s performance have continued to solidify alternative plans.

Some students said they intend to spend their evening fulfilling extracurricular and academic commitments, while others had previously made plans to attend the spring concerts at other universities also slated for this coming weekend.

Chief among the alternatives offered on Harvard’s campus is a concert that will be held in the Eliot House courtyard featuring local pop and hip hop artist Shea Rose.

The event, planned by several Eliot students including Change.org petition founder Leah Reis-Dennis ’13 and Eliot House Committee co-chair Jayshlyn D. Acevedo ’14, will be funded and supported by the Eliot House Masters, the Eliot House budget, and the Office of Student Life, according to Reis-Dennis.

Acevedo stressed that the Eliot courtyard concert is not directly associated with the petition against Tyga and is not meant to act as a rival to Yardfest. She said that the concert organizers were “very transparent” in communicating their plans to the OSL and CEB, adding that ideally students would be able to attend both Yardfest and the Eliot concert if they so desired.

—Staff writer Nikita Kansra can be reached at nkansra@college.harvard.edu. Follow her on Twitter @NikitaKansra.

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