This year Stony Brook’s Undergraduate Student Government booked two acts for the end of the year concert: Diplo, a DJ with prolific credentials, such as, working with Beyonce and Snoop Dogg’s recreated persona Snoop Lion, and Childish Gambino, a comedic TV star, better known to many as Troy Barnes from Community, turned rapper. Immediately after the acts were announced, in classic Stony Brook tradition, were cries of “why is it not ?” or “another rap artist? why can’t it be ?” with little understanding of what goes into booking an event while getting a musical act that will appeal to the broad majority of students were heard.
The process begins the previous year with the elections of students to their positions of power in student government and the immediate need to begin booking rooms and performers for various artists throughout the coming year. Once dates and spaces are booked, USG must find an artist that fits its time schedule and budget. The main issue with this is that, in contrast to the vast majority of other event planning agencies, the way the process works at Stony Brook we have to find the date first and artist second— this severely limits the flexibility and choice of artists. Once USG pinpoints a selection of artists that work with the scheduled date it needs to decide which artist appeals to the vast majority of students. Then they need to deal with University security checks and vast levels of a bureaucratic maze that seems to regard the desire to have a great concert as “not important.”
Since Stony Brook is such a large university, even appealing to a vast majority will leave a sizeable amount of the student body unhappy. With the advent of social media and the fact that everyone has the ability to bitch about whatever they desire and send it out to various student government officials and accounts, it appears that many, many people are up in arms over the choice of “yet another rapper.”
Now ignoring the inherent fallacy that comes when people dismiss a whole genre as bad we can look into why Childish Gambino and Diplo are as great of a choice of artists that anyone can expect from USG. Childish Gambino combines a well-known actor who also can rap really well. He’s a rapper that can appeal to a broad demographic— just what USG needs. If you need proof listen to the song “Freaks and Geeks” and realize he can really perform. Next up is Diplo, who has worked with everyone who is anyone in the music industry. If the goal of the concert is to provide a fun, memorable experience, who would be better than an artist who has performed and worked through many different genres? Personally, I’m a fan of his work with Major Lazer such as the song “Get Free” which provides his own take on the Jamaican dancehall scene. If any artist is expected to provide a wide range of enjoyment for fans of many genre’s I can’t think of someone much better than Diplo. I encourage people to open their minds and just be excited about the event— if you do that you’ll have a great time regardless if you aren’t a fan of rap or electronic music.
Now back to USG. After choosing an act and getting one approved they have to go through the gigantic logistical hassle of coordinating multiple departments on campus such as athletics, the police force and numerous others while following numerous safety and bureaucratic steps to make this event happen. They also do this while balancing a full course load. As much as we all hate USG and think they could do a million things better, we all have to recognize that putting on an event of this size is a huge undertaking for a group of students. Logistical hurdles are enough— the last thing they need to hear is whining about your chosen genre not being presented.