In a story that continues to develop amid controversy, local bar owner Ray Blando has been overheard referring to popular hip-hop tracks as “black people music.” Students on the scene report that he continued to say, “Future and Migos bring an atmosphere that, while lit, could bring a far more inclusive party environment to our establishment, and that’s something we are not yet comfortable with.”
These reports have contributed to significant backlash from students and Madison residents alike. Sophomore Katerina Watersmith went as far as to say that she would consider drinking gallons of blue alcohol out of fishbowls in her own apartment to protest Blando’s comments.
When interviewed in response to the controversy, Blando doubled down on his previous stance, “We like exclusive environments because they help our patrons feel privileged,” Blando said. “Lyrics such as ‘Pipe it up,’ and ‘Imma make it look sexy,’ contribute to an environment which is jubilant and inclusive to other demographics, and that’s just not what we’re looking for.”
The absence of hip-hop was initially noticed by two UW-Madison students, who were driven to the bar by non-UW students. When they approached bar-owner Blando about the situation, he allegedly replied, “gangster hip-hop won’t be allowed in my environment, because I don’t want high rollers rolling in with their whips.”
Other bar owners in the State Street area have enacted similar policies, but backed up their actions in different ways. When the proprietor of area bar Whiskey Dick’s was questioned about the lack of popular hip-hop at his establishment, he cited security reasons. “We were seeing too many people pile onto the dance floor without warming up to R&B. People pulled hammies, and one guy even broke his ankle. We needed to make a change.”
When asked if he had strategically deleted hip-hop tracks from his interactive music players, Blando denied any tampering with the system. “I don’t even know how to operate this newfangled technology,” he said. “I still use a Nokia. Touch screens confound me.”
When interviewed by Cardinal reporters, Blando asserted that despite backlash, his managerial skills had resulted in higher profit margins and increased patronage from the Madison area.
“It’s in my DNA,” Blando mused, “just like that Kenny guy said.”