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4 tangible suggestions on how SPB can fix WILD

| Senior Cadenza Editor

Here we are again, having the same debate. Some people love the WILD artist, some people think it’s the worst possible pick to ever grace the highly esteemed Brookings Quadrangle stage. Everyone posts their opinions on Facebook because what else is our generation to do?

For this WILD, the cycle has hit a particularly nasty snag when parsing the racially insensitive and sexist comments that Lil Dicky has made in the past and figuring out the seemingly shady tactics Social Programming Board may or may not have taken to bring him here.

What it all boils down to is that WILD is broken. What should be a fun Friday afternoon capped by a concert that anyone can enjoy inevitably descends into a firestorm of student discontent in the weeks before.

With that in mind, here are four suggestions to fix the biannual concert, or, you know, at least make it a little bit less of a perpetual controversy.

Pop performer Natalie La Rose performs at WILD in spring 2017. The Dutch singer opened for headliner Jason Derulo. Aaron Brezel | Student Life

Pop performer Natalie La Rose performs at WILD in spring 2017. The Dutch singer opened for headliner Jason Derulo.

Elect SPB

Why this hasn’t happened already I have no idea. Imagine: You, the student body, elects the leaders that decide who comes for WILD. They run on platforms explaining how they will approach the position, what type of artists they will target and any other innovations they may have. There is no survey because the candidates have been transparent with their direction for the organization. You put your faith in them to execute the platform they set forth.

It just makes sense.

Electing SPB gives them a vote of confidence to operate how they feel best. No more of this “Where did they rank on the survey?” nonsense. If the student body doesn’t like the WILD artist with an elected body, there is no diffusion of blame. Accountability, as people have said time and time again, is a wonderful thing.

Jason Derulo performs onstage in Brookings Quadrangle during spring WILD last year. The artist performed some of his biggest hits, such as “Whatcha Say,” “Trumpets,” and “Wiggle.”Jordan Chow | Student Life

Jason Derulo performs onstage in Brookings Quadrangle during spring WILD last year. The artist performed some of his biggest hits, such as “Whatcha Say,” “Trumpets,” and “Wiggle.”

Vet the artists you put on the survey

Even as an unelected body, SPB shouldn’t just be throwing artists willy-nilly on the WILD survey. I know they use a third-party intermediary who recommends artists, but even doing a cursory Google search on 50 artists takes (at most) two hours. This is your job SPB, stop acting like typing a name into a search bar is the end of the world.

If SPB actually took some time to look into the artists they put on the survey, this whole Lil Dicky fiasco would have never happened because he would never even be an option. The blame here isn’t on the student body for clicking through a survey. The blame is on SPB for making a problematic survey in the first place.

Students throw their hands up during spring WILD 2017. The usually semesterly concert was not held in the fall of 2016 because of scheduling conflicts caused by the presidential debate.Jordan Chow | Student Life

Students throw their hands up during spring WILD 2017. The usually semesterly concert was not held in the fall of 2016 because of scheduling conflicts caused by the presidential debate.

Do a survey by genre

This suggestion isn’t my favorite, but it’s a nice compromise between one and two. By voting for a genre rather than a specific artist, students give SPB some guidance but leave the actual act of scheduling and booking the specific artist to the people in charge. If students vote for a general “pop artist” rather than specifically, let’s say, Kesha, there are no complaints when Kesha is already booked for the WILD date because Kesha was never promised to begin with.

The big concern here is that this type of survey would inevitably end in one genre coming to every WILD, but guess what, that too is easily fixed. Just make a rule that if a pop artist comes to one WILD, then that genre isn’t on the survey for the next one. Easy fix.

Yeah, there will still be complaints, but if SPB vets their artists, then they have much more freedom to select someone who will put on a good show and who students will enjoy.

Stop creating false hype

At the end of the day, WILD isn’t really that big of a deal, and we should all stop acting like it is. By hyping up the event as the best day of the year, we just create false expectations that are sure to disappoint us. If we stop the hype, then maybe people will stop caring so much if the artist isn’t their absolute favorite in the world.

You’re getting to see Jason Derulo or the All-American Rejects or Icona Pop for a fee that you’ve already paid and can’t get out of, so why complain? (Lil Dicky in this instance is a special circumstance with considerations other than his musical ability that makes the complaints necessary.)

WILD simply isn’t worth the collective consternation that we put into it. This was true long before the Lil Dicky debacle and will still be true next semester. But the process finally came back to bite SPB, and they need to address what they are doing to make sure this mess of result of their selection process doesn’t happen in the future.

There are ways to fix the current SPB structure, and I hope one of them is adopted, but until that happens, all I can do is hope that it’s someone I like better (and isn’t a problematic doofus) next semester.

  • Henry

    If the opponents of Lil Dicky actually read the article you site, they should notice that Lil Dicky is in character the whole time. Much like how Stephen Colbert satirized conservatives with his Report character, Lil Dicky is satirizing the whole “privileged white boy” you call him out for being. He literally is supposed to be a little bit of a dick, as he is called Lil Dicky for a reason. That being said, comedy is a subjective field, and some people do not “get” the same humor as others. If Lil Dicky doesn’t fit your sense of humor, so be it, just don’t camp out to be in the front row of his performance.

    As for those who argue to not let him set foot on campus, it is both naïve and selfish. Lil Dicky is a professional entertainer who is going to be paid to entertain students. If you oppose this simply because you don’t get his schtick, it should not be a priority of yours to block the majority of the students who feel that their activities fund is being allocated well from seeing a popular act perform. There are actual racists in this world. Don’t conflate the SPB with them simply because they booked someone you aren’t a fan of.