[The Calgary and Regina concerts of this American band have been rescheduled to other venues. PHOTO: Black Pussy]
An American band with a controversial name will play shows in Regina and Calgary, despite being forced to cancel events at other venues in each city.
Black Pussy of Portland, Ore., was scheduled to play the Saskatchewan Cultural Exchange in Regina and The Palomino Smokehouse & Social Club in Calgary this month, but was told by promoters the show wouldn’t go ahead there.
“The Palomino was being threatened,” lead singer Dustin Hill told Yahoo Canada News. “There was a three-day festival booked by a feminist group, and they started bullying the venue that they didn’t feel safe, even though we were playing there on different days.”
After they announced they wouldn’t be playing Calgary, eight different promoters approached Hill’s band, and a new show was rescheduled to a bigger venue on Sept. 17. The feminist festival, Femme Wave, ended up cancelling its event. It wasn’t immediately available for comment.
“In the end, it’s the venue who got screwed over,” Hill says. “Instead of losing one show, they lost an entire weekend and our show.”
The Regina show has also been rescheduled for Sept. 18 to a new location.
Representatives at The Palomino could not be reached for comment. The Saskatchewan Cultural Exchange declined to comment but referred to a statement posted online. It says that while it values artistic freedom, “those values are superseded by this artist’s creative choice in the band name Black Pussy, which is appropriative and contributes to a culture of objectification of black people, people of colour and women.”
The post received hundreds of comments, from both sides.
“Goatwhore, Aborted, Rotting Christ, Dying Fetus …. just a short list of bands I have personally seen at The Exchange that have offensive names that are much less tongue-in-cheek than Black Pussy,” wrote Kurtis Offet. “Glad I now live in Calgary where a much loved venue decided to let people decide for themselves whether or not to attend a show they deem “offensive.”
“Thank you, Exchange, for making a point that it really isn’t okay for white cis males to appropriate whatever the hell they want in order to make ‘art’ and ‘challenge’ people,” wrote Savannah Of-The Woods. “It’s not art and it’s not a challenge, it’s an unoriginal continuation of a history of violence toward POC [people of colour] and women.”
In the band’s nine years of touring, Hill says they’ve dealt with seven cancellations, all in the last few years. He says the band has even received death threats.
“We always try to tell venues and promoters, don’t let people bully you,” he says. “But it’s up to their discretion.”