"Although my event is all-genre, I canceled it myself because as a hip-hop artist, I am not supporting a venue that does not want me there," says Epps. "It would also be irresponsible of me to bring hip-hop artists, particularly women of color, into a space where they are not welcome. It's not safe."
This all comes after a note posted on social media and sent to CP (see below) was given to booker Mary Jo Coll, following the Feb. 13 event, Slap Frost Revue, asking to "Please cancel all hip hop nights til further notice." Coll confirmed to CP she received this note.
"That's the note I was given," Coll wrote over email. "No further explanation has been given other than now it's that the nights did not generate enough business."Susan Coe, owner of Howlers, says that the note was misconstrued — it was referring to one specific night — and the venue is still interested in hip-hop events.
Social media posts alleged that the action was taken in response to marijuana use at the show, but Coe stated that she had no knowledge of anything like that.
Others in the community, including Epps, feel this is another example of racism in Pittsburgh.
"I'm not sure what attendance at one show has to do with an entire genre," says Epps.
"This is where the city needs to step in and be supportive of people of color who are involved in the hip-hop scene to create their own spaces. And I mean NICE spaces, not some backyard garage underground crap," Epp says. "We are tired of asking for a seat. We want our own damn hip-hop table. Unfortunately, the way systemic racism is set up, most of us don't have the financial means to obtain, create, and maintain these spaces."
But Coe still claims it wasn't based on the type of music. "It had nothing to do with the genre," she says. "It could have been anything."