Follow That Story: Separating Wheatstraw from Chaff | News | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper

Follow That Story: Separating Wheatstraw from Chaff

Music promoter "Aychbe Wheatstraw" incensed members of Wilkinsburg's black community and the neighborhood's punk-rock Mr. Roboto Project when fliers for his 1913 Massacre concert at Roboto in October included racist images and language (see CP news brief, "Unwanted Poster," Nov. 30).


Minister Jasiri X, leader of Wilkinsburg's Nation of Islam Mosque Number 22, and musical artist and activist Paradise Gray have come to an amicable understanding with Mr. Roboto's members about the offending fliers, and Roboto has cancelled Wheatstraw's membership. But Wheatstraw has now spoken up, claiming he did not mislead anyone about the fliers.


"I dropped off several of the 'controversial' fliers about two weeks prior to the show at the venue," writes the still-anonymous Wheatstraw in an e-mail, "so I'm certain they saw the flier prior to it being brought to their attention" by X and Gray.

Wheatstraw "did not ever bring the offensive fliers to the space," says Mike Siciliano, a Roboto boardmember who handles their booking. "He instead made separate fliers with only the date, time, and names of the bands on them."


Wheatstraw also claims he has always been "more than willing to meet and speak with any concerned parties," although he did not attend the Roboto board meeting at which its members apologized to the community. Wheatstraw did not have time to rearrange his schedule.


In his explanation sent to Roboto, Wheatstraw says his flier was inspired by the work of comic artist Chris Ware and that the artwork was taken from an 1883 New Orleans newspaper ad for a band called the New Orleans Minstrels.


"This piece was intended to incite conversation and hopefully get people to take an introspective look at themselves, our country, and our history," he writes, adding that nothing degrading was intended.

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