Monday, July 18, 2011

Odd Future: Reflections from inside the tent.

I was at Pitchfork Music Fest this weekend representing CAASE at a table along with about a dozen other local organizations that are working to end violence against women and LGBTQ people. The effort was led by Between Friends and Rape Victim Advocates, two important orgs that stepped up to offer an anti-violence voice to the discussion about Odd Future playing at the fest. (Not familiar with the controversy? Get caught up here). I wanted to share a few thoughts from inside the tent (which was never a protest).

People at Pitchfork loved the purple heat-fighting fans. Mostly, they loved them because it was mind-melting hot outside, but many people who paused to read the message “Cool it, don’t be a fan of violence” paused to smile, or at least acknowledge that they knew why our groups were there. One young woman grabbed a fan then took the time to return and tell me, “I’m really glad you’re here doing this. Thank you.”

Who knows what triggered her to return and say thanks? Maybe she’s survived violence. Maybe someone in her family has. Or maybe she just believes that there is a real connection between the art we consume and the values we embrace. Who was it who said life imitates art? Even if that’s true just sometimes, we should all be more aware of the messages we’re consuming and tacitly supporting.

While I was at the gate passing out fans to the sweaty people entering the gates, Odd Future stopped over at our booth. They brought cupcakes. As they stood there, they probably also saw the T-shirts that Between Friends’ teen volunteers made with slogans like “I’m not a Ho” and “Love doesn’t hurt.”  Why does it matter that they stopped by? Well, they were among thousands who stopped to view these messages, pick up info about crisis resources and acknowledge that there’s violence against women in our community. I think it means that they did care that we were there. We all have to start somewhere, right?  

-Kristin Claes is communications manager for CAASE. 

Photo from Ashley Koenen at LA Weekly