Take a moment to think about the atrocities that are currently happening across the globe. The Fukushima Power Plant is on the verge of ending humanity, homosexual men in Nigeria are being beaten to death, and it’s illegal for homeless Floridians to cover themselves with blankets. Pretty bad, right? Then there’s New Zealand, a country who’ve just banned Odd Future from entering their sacred homeland on the basis of threat to public order.
Rap music, of course, is the reason that bad things have been happening to good people since the early 90s. You listen to a parental advisory joint and instantly, something switches. No longer content with spending all day inside flicking between Twitter, hip-hop forums, and arguing about Young Thug, you’re on the street, clapping fools, shottin’ coke, and raping every female within reachable distance. Except not really, because that’s some bullshit dreamt up by the 9pm news and local government to make sure middle America stays scared of young black men. In the last decade or so that rhetoric has calmed, as people have realised that listening to gangster rap does not, Spiderman-bite style, turn you into a Grand Theft Auto character.
But in New Zealand, rappers are clearly still sending fear into the hearts of old white people. A statement was released by Immigration New Zealand shortly after Odd Future were banned from entering the country, an hour before their flight, despite obtaining verified visas, that read:
The Immigration Act 2009 provides that entry permission may not be granted where there is reason to believe there is, or is likely to be, a threat or risk to public order or the public interest.
Odd Future has been deemed to be a potential threat to public order and the public interest for several reasons, including incidents at past performances in which they have incited violence. In one instance, a police officer was hospitalised following a riot incited by Odd Future.
From the way the statement is phrased, it’s suggested that a NZ police officer was hospitalised because Odd Future hate the police and want to start riots, causing trouble in every city they play. Except, I’m almost certain the incident they’re referring to happened in Boston, three years ago, at a meet-and-greet session inside of a comic book store. An incident that occurred not because Odd Future held an in-store signing with the intention of recruiting anti-authoritarian thugs, but because they inspired so many teenagers to turn up that police had to shut the venue down. This made people angry. Why shouldn’t they be allowed to meet their willing heroes? And this made Odd Future angry. Why shouldn’t they be allowed to show appreciation to the bucket load of fans they had obtained in Boston?
Tyler and Co then appeared on the roof of the venue, “jumping from roof to roof and screaming at the crowd”. Basically, they put on a kind-of-performance for all of the fans that had queued for hours to see them, sort of like The Beatles in Saville Row. Except Paul McCartney, despite having his seminal performance shut-down by the police, is still allowed in New Zealand. That bastard gets a free pass for everything.
Odd Future were scheduled to play at Rapture Festival, an event headlined by Eminem, and featuring support from Action Bronson. Action Bronson being the very same guy who recently attacked a security guard in Portland. And attacked a crowd member before that. And another one before that. Bronsolino we love you but if anyone should be scaring the shit out of New Zealand security right now, it’s you.
The decision to ban the group from entering the country comes after anti-sexual violence group Stop Demand put pressure on Auckland city council to ban the group in 2013. In a letter to the council, founder Denise Ritchie wrote, “We reject entirely the minimisation of such extreme women-hating vitriol by this group as mere artistic expression, or lyrics that don't appeal to sections of society”. Yet they’re totally cool with Eminem headlining? The same guy who wrote a song with the lyrics, “Shut up slut, you're causing too much chaos / Just bend over and take it like a slut, OK Ma?”
Come this weekend, a bunch of kids who’ve spent money to see an artist that they really like will again, be disappointed. And, New Zealand Immigration people, it’s all your fault. The next time you want to see a Roman Polanski film, a Woody Allen film, listen to a Phil Spector album or some other bullshit, I hope someone snatches it from you because they don’t think enough of your person to make decisions based outside of what’s enjoyable on a creative level.
Follow Ryan on Twitter: @RyanBassil