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FREE VERSE: Twerkloose Bullshit

The other day, while bumbling through the morning news as I usually do, I came across a Guardian article with the headline: “How a Mississippi Bounce Concert Was Shut Down Over Anticipated Twerking.” Intrigued, I read on. Settle in readers because, oh my word, is the discrimination potent in this story.

The gist of the article is this: Queen of bounce music Big Freedia was set to perform at The Dollar Box Showroom in Hattiesburg, Mississippi as she had done several times before. This time, however, the Mississippi Alcohol Beverage Control deemed the performance “sexually-oriented adult entertainment” which, therefore, gave them the power to shut the show down.

Stay the hell out of The Dollar Box Showroom

“You can’t wear a thong. You must keep the cleft of your buttocks covered, and you cannot simulate a sex act,” were the terms of Mississippi ABC’s Chief of Enforcement Rusty Hanna’s conditions for the show. Real eloquent, Hanna. You sound great.

When I imagine this decision going down, I picture it starting in a harshly-lit meeting room with George Bush Sr.’s face plastered against one wall and a dusty old American flag hanging in a corner. In my head, this room is filled with a handful of wealthy, white, gluttonous, southern businessmen wondering how they can legally stop the devil’s work from taking place in their county, saying things like, “That really dills my pickle,” and “I’m as mad as a mule chewin’ on bumblebees.”

Maybe I’m just ill-informed, but this was the first time I had heard of ABC intervening on a musical performance. And what a coincidence that this one happens to be by a black, trans woman?

Thus, my thought for dear old Mr. Hanna is this: Stay the hell out of The Dollar Box Showroom or any other venue that features satan-esque entertainment of the black, queer, or trans community. They don’t want you there. You don’t want to be there. OK, thanks.

—Mariah Taylor

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