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The fed-up ‘Crazy White Boy’ backlash: A racist soundtrack of our divisive times

Goldfield Trading Post cancels anti-LGBTQ shows previously set for Sacramento Pride weekend

Adam Calhoun and Demun Jones’ “Crazy White Boy Tour” had two sold-out shows in Sacramento at Goldfield Trading Post on June 7 and 8, 2019, the same weekend as Gay Pride in Sacramento. The bar has since cancelled the shows after community concern.
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Adam Calhoun and Demun Jones’ “Crazy White Boy Tour” had two sold-out shows in Sacramento at Goldfield Trading Post on June 7 and 8, 2019, the same weekend as Gay Pride in Sacramento. The bar has since cancelled the shows after community concern.

I’m not a fan of music with homophobic lyrics. I’m not a fan of music in which white performers toss around the N-word. I’m not a fan of music in which cheaply interpreted biblical references objectify intimacy between gay men as if the references were anything other than smack talk masquerading as biting social commentary.

I’m just funny that way.

So no, you wouldn’t catch me going to see the “Crazy White Boy” tour, which was scheduled for June but has since been canceled. But then I’d never heard of white rappers Adam Calhoun and Demun Jones until objections over some of their lyrics were first reported by The Bee’s Benjy Egel:

“Musicians and customers are boycotting Goldfield Trading Post after the midtown Sacramento country bar booked two rappers with a history of anti-LGBTQ lyrics during Sacramento Pride...In the songRacism, Calhoun raps about being stereotyped as white trash before running through a list of black stereotypes while using the N-word.

“’Baby mama bitchin’, you ain’t taking care of business/All you do is smoke weed, run around with other bitches/And you can’t keep a job, ‘cause you’re in and out of prison/Guess it must be Trump’s fault, ‘cause you’re making bad decisions,’ Calhoun rapped.”

Opinion

The presence of these two performers of country/rap – a genre dubbed “hick hop” – has inspired some locals to organize a counter event, “Drinks Against Racism,” on June 8th. It’s a midtown bar-hop against racism being organized on Facebook.

Bar-hopping seems an appropriate enough response to lyrics such as this:

“Drake is feminine, Birdman is a f-----/A sword fight can’t create life, God won’t have it. And I ain’t no homophobe, Uncle Tommy died of AIDS/He was my fav, queers are 14 of spades/So if you’re feeling triggered maybe you should take some days off/Read a couple Hustlers and see if that s--- pays off.”

When Egel’s story broke, an impassioned community response seemed like a waste of time given that these lyrics don’t rise above simple trolling.

But then, the trolling isn’t the point, is it?

The point is that trolling has an audience. The point is that two Sacramento shows sold out because of that audience.

The point is that our politics and our social media spaces have created platforms for trolling and intolerance for profit and notoriety. It’s all so normal now.

A scan of Calhoun and Jones’ social media platforms reveals two family men.

Calhoun calls himself “a father first.” Jones is sensitive enough to post moving tributes to his disabled sister. He poses arm-in-arm with a black artist he refers to as a “good dude.” He peppers his music with biblical references and his videos with images of old-time baptisms in rural rivers and juxtaposes them with scenes of modern sinners caught up in their modern devices at the expense of spiritual salvation.

The two are obviously capable of love and emotion, but their hearts are reserved for other people like them – and that’s the embodiment of how we’ve always gone astray in our country.

Some of us are no longer willing to accept the sympathetic portrayal of the salt-of-earth KKK leader. We longer go along when our church forsakes people for whom they love. Some of us don’t think a white person should ever use the N-word in any context.

If anything, musical acts such as these are a backlash to a backlash. They call it being “politically correct” when a group of people on the receiving end of intolerance suddenly says: Enough. I’m calling you on that.

So now we see the backlash. We see the “There is nothing wrong with being white” T-shirts and the viral videos of foreign-looking or foreign-sounding people being confronted by “real Americans” for being different. What use to be intolerance is now a movement of the fed-up speaking up to “make America great again.”

These guys are right in that wheel house. They are a form of Trumpism set to music. It’s not timeless music, in that it does not reflect universal shared human experiences. It’s music of these times: crass, prejudiced, divisive and rooted in grievances against people who are different from them.

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Marcos Breton writes commentary and opinion columns about the Sacramento region, California and the United States. He’s been a California newspaperman for more than 30 years. He’s a graduate of San Jose State University, a voter for the Baseball Hall of Fame and the proud son of Mexican immigrants.

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