Hand scissors floated through the sky, and their finger blades chopped at the air. "Cut it, cut it, cut it, cut it," rained down from O.T. Genasis through the speaker system. I was at the pregame and the precursor to George Washington University's Spring Fling concert headlined by DMV local GoldLink last Saturday, April 2.
The D.C. college was in the news last week because it removed rapper Action Bronson from its Fling lineup for failing to adhere to university policies and procedures promoting inclusivity. Students, particularly Sarah Blugis, the opinions editor of the school's Hatchet newspaper, were in uproar over Mr. Wonderful's 2011 songs "Consensual Rape" and "Brunch," in which Bronson cooks a meal next to a woman's dead body, rolls her body up in a rug, puts her in a car trunk, and stabs her repeatedly while yelling gendered insults. "There are people on our campus who are likely afraid to even attend Spring Fling because of Bronson's hateful rhetoric, music videos and social media presence," Blugis wrote.
Anxious to get to the concert, I wondered how many of the people at the dorm party would migrate to Spring Fling at GW's University Yard. "Are you going to Fling," I asked a business major named Alex. She said, "Is that even still a thing?" "I was only going to hear Action Bronson, so now I don't think I will go at all," a bystander said.
Lanie Edwards, a member of GW's program board, indicated, "People literally said the only reason they weren't coming was because Action was cancelled. We expected a lower turnout. But, people should give artists they've never heard of a chance." If the students were aware of the musicality and showmanship GoldLink possess, more people would have rushed to hear the artist at Fling.
However, those that did attend were treated to an infectious atmosphere soundtracked by GoldLink and other D.C. acts, like producer and DJ Lean Quatifah. "I create music for people to dance to again," GoldLink once said in an interview to NPR. From the time GoldLink's DJ, Kidd Marvel, began the headlining set to when GoldLink stepped off the stage, the crowd never stopped moving. The rapper played songs from his 2014 mixtape, "The God Complex," and tracks from his debut album And After That, We Didn't Talk. For those perhaps a bit unfamiliar with his sound, GoldLink catered to the audience with a "party" section where he rocked out to "The Next Episode" by Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg, as well as "Teen Spirit" by Nirvana.
"At the end of the day, Fling is about music and a good show and I think GoldLink did that, especially with having to be the headliner last minute," Edwards said.
In the future, GW's program board will rely more heavily on student input when picking performers.