Roundtable: Was Tyga a poor choice of performer for Yardfest?
This is the seventh instalment in a series of online-only Roundtables. This new content form from the Crimson Editorial Board seeks to present a diverse array of high-quality student opinion on thought-provoking issues.
Should Tyga Perform at Yardfest?
It is obvious that we won’t be able to get the artists that our peer institutions get during their spring festivals. Last year’s artist lineup was mediocre at best, and the student body deserves better. However, given the current monetary constraints the organizers face, I understand how our lineup is not as impressive as other institutions’. That does not entitle us, however, to lower our high standards of arts and ethics. It does not matter that apart from “Rack City” and “Faded,” Tyga’s prominence has been rather limited, as an artist’s fame usually is not strongly correlated with the artist’s skill. Tyga’s lyrics, on the other hand, are not only meaningless and misogynistic, but also his other commitments, which include a non-sexual role in an adult film, place him at the bottom of the moral ladder, and he should not be given a stage at this institution.
Even though we might not be able to throw “10, 10, 10, twenties, and them fifties” at artists to entice them, we, as a student body, should be able to get artists that have a somewhat stable moral compass and have artistic talent. We don’t always have to go for the big names. Student bands here are very skilled and should be given a broader stage at Yardfest. On top of that, Yardfest could feature cover, indie, local, and other bands that have talent. While we may not have gotten Adele, or Fun, we could have done much better than Tyga.
Zorigoo Tugsbayer ’15 , a Crimson multimedia editor, is a statistics concentrator in Leverett House.
On the College Events Board’s Decision
By now, I am sure we have all somehow heard of, partaken in, or chuckled at the war over whether Tyga should be removed from the Yardfest line-up. Whatever one’s opinion is, it is universally clear that things have heated up. Fast. But this is not an issue of diverging opinions regarding if Tyga’s lyrics are misogynistic or not. It is not even about whether allowing him to perform speaks to Harvard’s acceptance of “rape culture.” This is a war of practicality: Is it constructive to fight this at the expense of dismantling the whole of Yardfest? It is a matter of those who think fighting Tyga is worth the time versus those who simply “want to have a good time.”
I absolutely do not agree with the victimization of activists and the mudslinging towards those sharing opinions others might not find worthwhile. But I also do not necessarily agree with expressing one’s dissatisfaction with an artist by taking away from others’ right to enjoy the event and music if they so please. Boycotting can equally suffice as an expression of dissatisfaction. As I am largely ambivalent, I do not wish to argue but rather to provide the perspective of someone who has been on the planning side, one largely ignored in this polarized debate.
For the fall semester, I served on First-Year Social Committee (the freshmen equivalent of the College Events Board). While FYSC was not responsible for Yardfest, there are parallels in both organizations’ efforts to satisfy everyone when it comes to event planning. There is simply no way to please everyone, but we try. CEB tried. Perhaps misguided, CEB’s decision to invite Tyga was in no way an act of closet misogyny. It was an earnest effort to invite a recognized artist whose songs most people probably have and can party to. Yardfest has long been plagued with the stigma of being “lame,” especially in light of other schools’ spring flings (Yale got Macklemore. The injustice!), so can we really blame them for bringing in a familiar name? And considering how little funding they typically get, those wishing for Beyoncé can keep wishing. It isn’t that this cause is not worth fighting for, but perhaps whom you’re fighting never intended to fight. And in this big social media mess, whom are we even fighting anymore? CEB? The administration? It seems we are only fighting each other.