Washington Post – Sigma Alpha Mu, a fraternity at American University, was looking to throw a philanthropy event this semester, Rocco Cimino, the chapter’s 20-year-old president, said Wednesday. The group ran into a dilemma, though.
“Essentially every sport under the sun, at least every sport we could think of, had been taken by a different Greek organization,” said Cimino, a sophomore from Peabody, Mass., who is double majoring in political science and philosophy at American.
It’s not as if there are formal rules against doubling up on sports, said Cimino — still, the organization didn’t want to do that. So the fraternity did some brainstorming, and someone pitched the idea of a badminton tournament called “Bad(minton) and Boujee.”
The event would have been low-cost, said Cimino, and the fraternity thought the name, a play on the hit Migos song “Bad and Boujee,” was marketable. But a university official raised concerns about that name, citing cultural appropriation, according to emails provided to The Washington Post. The back-and-forth led to a delay, Cimino said.
Ultimately, “Bad(minton) and Boujee,” which was supposed to be held later this month, was canceled.
Money from the badminton tournament was supposed benefit Armor Down, an organization that aims to help veterans deal with mental health issues.
American University just canceled a fundraiser for veterans with mental health issues because the title of the event was MOTHERFUCKING BADMINTON AND BOUJEE.
(I’m not a rapper so the flow doesn’t quite work there but we can workshop it.)
Seriously think about that for a second. Men and women who spend years overseas and risk their lives defending our country and see some of the most horrible shit imaginable are being deprived of funds that would contribute to their treatment and therapy because a group of college administrators were worried that the title of the event (which, again, was “Badminton and Boujee”) was “appropriating a culture.” A play on words of a Migos song. Might offend…wait who would it offend? Members of the bourgeoisie? We worried about the upper class here? I mean that’s what boujee means. Boujee is a culture now?
Or is it just because it’s a rap song? In which case kind of offensive to suggest white Jewish kids can’t listen to or in this case even REFERENCE an entire genre of music?
Unless I’m missing the advertisements where people were encouraged to show up in blackface I guess I’m just not seeing why using a creative and fun spin on an incredibly popular song (that is aggressively marketed to college kids by the way) is so problematic?
After developing the idea for the badminton tournament, the fraternity submitted a request to reserve the area on campus where it was planning to hold the event, according to Cimino. But, Cimino said, a few days after the event was announced, Cimino got a note from a university official. Colin Gerker, assistant director of fraternity and sorority life. Gerker sent an email on March 30, saying he suspected “that this event name will be criticized for the use of ‘boujee.’ ”
“I know it’s a colloquial term and is popular via Migos, but we have had groups get reamed for appropriating culture before related to situations like this,” he wrote.
“Boujee” is an abbreviated slang term that comes from the word “bourgeois.”
…Gerker wrote back on April 11, saying that he had received “multiple” complaints about the title of the event. In his response, Cimino asked to see a copy of one of those complaints and said that the event itself would have nothing to do with ” ‘boujee’ culture.”
“Furthermore, we don’t even understand how ‘bourgeoisie’ could have a culture of its own,” he wrote. “Every instance of cultural appropriation that I can find online is related to ethnicity. Bourgeoisie is an economic status which anyone can theoretically reach or aspire to reach. To call it a culture would go against the entire argument of cultural appropriation, no?”
In an email to The Post, Camille Lepre, assistant vice president of communications at American, said…
“The nature and titles of some events could have negative impact and unintended consequences on campus, and while the university doesn’t prohibit them from proceeding, our Office of Campus Life works with the sponsoring student group, educates them on the possible impact on their peers, talks through some options, and allows them to decide how they will proceed,” she wrote in an email. “This coaching is part of the student experience.”
Honestly I don’t care if the thing raised 5 dollars. Don’t care if one single person showed up with their own racquet and spend 10 minutes hitting the shuttlecock around by themselves. One cent not going to veterans because of uptight fucking loser college administrators is too much.
Now cue the god damn music.