The WSA Social Committee announced Thursday morning that the group Outcast would play at Spring Fling this year. Initially excited, students expressed enthusiasm for the WSA and the Administration’s joint decision.
“This is completely the best,” said Laura Goldblatt ’06. “I’m so excited that I might take all my clothes off when they play Hey Ya! Well, except for my wristband.”
Excitement, however, soon turned into confusion when an all campus email was sent by the WSA confirming the band choice. In the email, the WSA wrote that it first thought that Outcast would be an ideal band for Spring Fling when one of the members heard the group play at the Red and Black Café Saturday concert series.
“We feel truly great about Outcast playing this year,” read the email. “This is by far the best group that will have performed at Wesleyan.”
According to the email, Outcast features Hermann Joseph ’03 and Bob Friend ’95, who still reside near Wesleyan. While based in Middletown, Outcast also plays locally in Portland, Danbury, and Berlin. At the Red and Black concert, the group debuted its first album, “My Boxxx and the Love Blow.”
“OK, I mean, yes, we are somewhat influenced by the group Outkast,” Joseph said. “We totally respect what they are trying to do, but we are taking it to a new level. It’s sort of like Outkast is Lo-rise and we are, like, Hi-rise.”
As students read the email on Thursday, many began to question the band choice and the institution of Spring Fling as a whole.
“What…?,” said Alden Ferro ’04. “Wait, what…”
Other students, who were more articulate, spoke out against the Administration’s choice to have an unknown, all-white black imitation group. Other students didn’t understand why the University couldn’t pay for the real Outkast to come.
“This is solely ridiculous,” said Katey Rich ’06. “Why can’t we get a normal band? First it was the Beatoffs or Nutoffs or whatever, and now this. Where’s Dave Matthews?”
The Administration responded Thursday night to student complaints. According to Marcia Bromberg, Vice President of Finance, the University was not trying to be extremely cheap, and instead is apparently trying to promote “diversity of music.”
“I think this is a step forward,” said Justin Harmon, Director of University Communications. “We are trying to move away from brand names. We thought the student body would support a more grassroots group, if you will. You know, protest the Establishment, or the Man, or, shit, what is it?”
Recorded only with vocals and an acoustic guitar, My Boxxx and the Love Blow features remix hits, which, according to Joseph and Friend, redevelop and expand on the themes in Outkast’s songs.
“We try to appeal to the crowd we are performing for,” Joseph said. “Recently we played a gig at It’s Only Natural. We appealed to the crowd with lyrics like, ‘I’m sorry Ms. Piggy.’”
Despite the upset student body, Outcast is still set to play for the event.
“We are really pumped,” Friend said. “Ever since I left it has been my dream to come back and rock Spring Fling. I’ve been waiting nine years for this moment. Outkast would be proud.”
Adam Freelander ’05 agrees. “I agree,” he said. Freelander then laid this article out. And it looked pretty good.