In light of recent discussion about the Lupe Fiasco Concert, it seems necessary to address the numerous concerns that were raised on the UOFC message board. I could have addressed these issues on the message board, but this medium seemed more appropriate. After carefully reading and examining the resulting commentary it appears that three significant concerns have been raised — the entrance fee, the number of non-Yale students who will attend and the allocation of funds. It is my hope that by explaining these apprehensions within the context of the intent of the Black Solidarity itself will put them into a grounded perspective.

The Black Solidarity Conference is an established event at Yale which this year will focus on advocating educated voting as a tool of revolution. The concert is the entertainment portion of the Black Solidarity Conference. Through a series of panels, forums and assorted activities we aim to provide an in-depth understanding of many key issues in the upcoming presidential election. We will analyze presidential hopefuls and their stances on the issues, determine the important issues affecting the community, and register and educate voters. As a part of this three-day conference of workshops, rallies and speakers we will also sponsor a concert with Lupe Fiasco. The various sponsors we have secured fund the conference as a whole, not the concert specifically.

We applied for UOFC funding because our idea fit the guidelines and we believed it would be an excellent event for the Yale community as a whole. One critique against the proposal is the entrance fee. The UOFC guidelines clearly state that “ticket and entrance fees may be charged only if there exists a pre-event budget deficit.” The Lupe Fiasco concert will cost $31,676, and therefore a pre-event deficit existed. In terms of the written guidelines, the Lupe Fiasco proposal did meet all of the guidelines. The concern, however, about outside Yale students attending a UOFC event is a valid point, and we understand students not wanting to vote for the concert because it is serving more than the Yale population. We believed that the entire Yale community would enjoy this event, but according to the reaction, we misjudged. For this reason, we are pulling out of the competition.

However, and perhaps most hurtful to the groups involved, is the accusation of deceit. Yes, we secured several corporate sponsors, but these sponsors are for the entire Black Solidarity Conference. While outside students would have been at this event, we were honest and forthright with UOFC about this. We in no way sought to profit or abuse the resources of the UOFC. We were charging an entrance fee to ensure that all the associated costs of the concert will be met, and this was the only purpose for the entrance fee. Our ultimate goal with the Black Solidarity Conference was, and still is, to promote peace, unity and solidarity.

Kristian Henderson is a junior in Trumbull College. She is the event leader of Lupe Fiasco.