Last week Philly party producer Josh Schonewolf drew sharp criticism from the community when he released a flyer promoting his latest event, “Once You Go Black.” The artwork drew criticism from local bloggers, who panned it as racist because of its minstrel-style theme and questionable language, like calling its African American performers “sparkly.” Schonewolf reached out to G Philly to see if he could post a response about the controversy. He has since decided to cancel the performance, and, instead of taking a defensive position, seems to be owning up to his mistakes. A smart move if you ask us. His response here:
After careful consideration, I have decided to cancel “Once You Go Black,” at L’Etage on August 2nd.
I made mistakes with this event, that I have to admit have been eye-opening and immeasurably helpful. I never should have used the wording I did on the flyer, and I understand now that the title of the event itself was offensive. When the criticism came, I should have listened instead of trying to back up my intentions. I never should have become defensive. I made a mistake.
The experience taught me so much. It has inspired conversations that probably never would have happened if it weren’t for my missteps. I made a mistake in publishing that flyer. I offended people. I am sorry. I realize that simply apologizing is not enough. So the event is canceled.
Thank you to everyone who voiced their disfavor. You opened my eyes to my mistakes—mistakes I’ll know not to make again. My hope is that our community can come together even more by having these types of conversations. Open dialogue and connectivity is important in building a united community. I know it’s taught me a thing or two. Thank you to every person who has reached out to me to express their concerns about “Once You Go Black.” I’m sorry to anyone who was offended.