An Instagram image posted by local label Hearts & Plugs has caused offense and confusion among the music community this week.
Founder Dan McCurry contacted the City Paper
expressing his regret regarding a photograph he posted promoting Tuesday's night's show at the Commodore with Hermit's Victory and Brave Baby. The Instagram post, which was taken down yesterday, illustrates a baby ("Slave Baby") in chains.
McCurry issued the following statement:
"I have made a mistake for which I am deeply sorry, and I want to apologize to those I have offended. On Monday I posted an image that I did not perceive to be potentially insulting — when the offensive nature of it was pointed out to me, I immediately took it down.
During this time of tension in regards to race relations, I have found myself to be amongst those guilty of the blindness that comes with privilege. As someone who identifies as being a progressive, this misjudgment on my part cuts to my core. It was never my intent to cause harm or promote an oppressive culture.
I very much believe we all must work together to make this world a better place, to foster acceptance for each and every soul. I appreciate all those who are actively promoting such growth within our society. I believe we can get there through acknowledgement and support."
The caricature has been flagged and condemned since Wednesday by a growing number of folks in and associated with the music community, including Anjali Naik of Diaspoura, who tweeted this image on Wednesday.
The person who initially drew the image has not come forward, despite the community's demands for him or her to take responsibility. "Does anyone know who drew the original image? Part of dismantling racism is breaking the code of silence," Jessie Parks, board member of local LGBTQI organization We Are Family said on Hearts & Plugs' Facebook page. "Whoever is responsible for the original image needs not to be protected, but to apologize, too."
Everyone from singer-songwriter Lily Slay and hip-hop artist Contour to Girls Rock Charleston co-founder/Southern Femisphere's Kim Larson have used social media to urge the label to take further action.
"Apologizing is important and publicly acknowledging our mistakes takes courage. But we need to do more," Larson said. "As a person who has a public presence in the wonderful and supportive music community of Charleston, it is your responsibility to celebrate and lift the voices of people of color. You are in a position to make this community welcoming to all by calling out musicians who are being racist. Hearts and Plugs could stand in solidarity with black folks by hosting a benefit show for organizations doing racial justice work. Or you could donate some of your proceeds to support the people doing this work right now in Charlotte. We don’t have time to feel guilty, we have real work to do."