Tyga Retained as Yardfest Headliner with Start Time Delayed

UPDATED: April 4, 2013, at 4:16 a.m.

The College Events Board and the Harvard College Concert Commission will retain rapper Tyga as the headliner for Yardfest, but will push back the start time of his performance on Saturday to accommodate students unhappy with the selection, the two organizations announced in a statement Monday night.

Several Eliot House residents have also arranged an alternative concert to be hosted in Eliot courtyard during Yardfest. The Eliot concert will feature a hip-hop artist scheduled to perform at the same time that Tyga will be on stage in Tercentenary Theatre.

The CEB and HCC’s announcement comes a week after an undergraduate launched an online petition on Change.org urging Harvard administrators to cancel Tyga’s performance at the annual spring concert due to lyrics described in the petition as “explicitly and violently misogynistic.” The petition garnered 400 signatures in its first hour online and has since collected more than 2,000 signatures.

The day after the petition went up, administrators in the OSL asked the CEB and HCC to reevaluate their choice of Tyga in response to the student outcry.

In their statement Monday night, the CEB and HCC wrote that they decided to delay the start time of Tyga’s performance until after dinner so that students uncomfortable with the artist can still eat a meal and socialize with friends at Yardfest.

“We hope this change will allow all students to feel they can take part in the communal aspect of the event, hang out with friends, enjoy some food, and watch our amazing student openers (Puttanesca and The Cantab Cowboys) perform before dinner concludes,” the CEB and HCC wrote.

Leah Reis-Dennis ’13, the student who launched the Change.org petition and is also involved in planning the alternate concert in Eliot, said she is disappointed in the CEB and HCC for not cancelling Tyga’s performance.

Still, Reis-Dennis said she was excited for the Eliot concert performer, who she declined to name immediately due to contractual obligations.

“The performer that we’re inviting is a great representative of hip hop and is a great artist that we’re excited to introduce to the Harvard community as a whole,” Reis-Dennis said.

Reis-Dennis said she and other organizers have worked closely with Eliot House Master Gail A. O’Keefe to plan the alternative concert, which will feature professional sound and lighting.

The Eliot concert will be funded by the Office of the Dean of the College. It will be supported by the Eliot House Masters, according to Reis-Dennis.

“The idea is that students will go to Yardfest for dinner, and they will go to support the awesome student bands,” Reis-Dennis said. “And then we’re hoping before Tyga’s performance, students will walk out and will attend our concert.”

Student leaders of the CEB and HCC could not immediately be reached for comment early Tuesday morning.

—Check TheCrimson.com for updates.

—Staff writer Laya Anasu can be reached at layaanasu@college.harvard.edu. Follow her on Twitter @layaanasu.

This article has been revised to reflect the following correction:

CORRECTION: April 17, 2013

An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated that the alternative Yardfest concert in Eliot courtyard was funded in part by the Office of Student Life. In fact, the Eliot concert was funded by the Office of the Dean of the College.

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