LTE: In Response To: “B.o.B to Headline This Year’s Modstock Festival”

To the Editor:

Today we learned that Boston College Campus Activities Board (CAB) has invited B.o.B to be the headline performer at this year’s Modstock Festival next Thursday, May 3.

For those who don’t know, in January 2016, B.o.B released a single “Flatline” that referenced a famous Holocaust denier and included the anti-Semitic trope that Jews control the U.S. government:

Do your research on David Irving

Stalin was way worse than Hitler

That’s why the POTUS gotta wear a kippah

We think about our responsibility here. Should we keep quiet and let it slide, thinking, who listens to these lyrics anyway? But we all know that lots of people not only listen to the lyrics, they recite them. If there’s one thing Jewish people have learned from history, it’s that when there are rumors spread about us, we don’t just hope no one is listening.

We thought we’d check to see if B.o.B may have recanted these offensive lyrics. Instead we found this from a track produced later:

People asking me, like “Why Bobby Ray saying all this crazy ass shit? You think he really means it?” Like this shit ain’t crazy, this shit is real, dawg. He’s always been rapping real shit

These days there are too many people making public statements that are just untrue through too many media outlets. Sometimes we ignore them; sometimes we try to refute them. Often, we would ignore a guy like this and hope someone can help him learn fact from fiction. But it is clear from his statement above that he has been called out on these views—and to no avail.

Unfortunately, a generation may be learning from these songs. He’s obviously selling his music, because the Boston College Campus Activities Board has invited him to be the headliner for their year-end festival, which probably comes at a high price.

As an alum of and professor at BC, we are embarrassed by our educated, intelligent college students spending money, i.e., supporting, a performer who spouts the hateful statements that B.o.B does, and are deeply offended that CAB, and therefore Boston College, is giving him a platform to propagate his uneducated and ugly rhetoric.  

We choose to look at this as an opportunity—both a teaching and learning opportunity—for students, faculty, and administrators to remember that words do matter and what we support is, in fact, what we stand up for. The opportunity is most acute for students to educate one another as well, because what this performer raps are not just words.

Sincerely,

Alan Marcus, Professor of Finance, CSOM

Sheryl Marcus, BC ’05

Featured Graphic by Nicole Chan / Graphics Editor