Hip hop group The Coup nearly had to cancel their upcoming show this Friday at the MultiCultural Center (MCC) Theater after the university originally did not grant the band an insurance waiver last week.
Last Wednesday, The Coup frontman Boots Riley posted on Facebook and Twitter that the university had not granted the band an insurance waiver. According to Riley’s Facebook and Twitter posts, this caused university staff and faculty, including Black Studies professor Gaye Theresa Johnson, to reverse the decision and allow The Coup to perform.
Associate Dean of Student Life and Activities Katya Armistead said The Coup had difficulty with the university’s insurance policy because campuswide insurance carrier Campus Connexxus does not provide coverage for hip hop artists. According to Armistead, hip-hop artists in the past have been able to perform because they had their own insurance, but The Coup did not.
“The insurance carrier does not provide coverage for hip-hop,” Armistead said in an email. “When this is the case, the artists that want to come to campus must supply their insurance coverage. The Coup does not have its own insurance.”
Armistead said the MCC’s request that the insurance requirement be waived so The Coup could play was originally denied, but that she then worked with the Office of the Vice Chancellor of Administrative Services to get the requirement waived.
“When I learned that a waiver was denied I worked with the Office of the Vice Chancellor of Administrative Services to correct the decision,” Armistead said in an email. “Once it was deemed that there was no security issue with the group coming to campus, the decision to not waive the insurance requirement was reversed. So, the show will go on.”
Armistead said while she was able to help get the insurance waived within 24 hours, the outbreak on social media created a “storm.”
“The issue was corrected within 24 hours of the original decision,” Armistead said. “Unfortunately, the social media storm started while we were already working on the issue.”
KCSB Development Coordinator Ted Coe said it was odd that the university would not provide insurance to The Coup for playing hip hop music.
“It’s like there is a certain artistic expression, but then you’re told that expression isn’t welcome on campus,” Coe said.
First-year economics and mathematics major George Purtell said he was disappointed to hear The Coup might not be able to play on campus this Friday.
“The Coup is always playing on my iPod,” Purtell said. “I was looking forward to seeing them, but when I saw Boots Riley’s post on Facebook, I was definitely disappointed with the university.”
Purtell said he was glad the insurance requirement was eventually waived and that the university is now allowing The Coup to play their upcoming show.
“I was definitely relieved to hear that it all worked out in the end,” Purtell said. “I will be the first one there to see them on Friday night.”