Students walk out of WILD, host on-campus alternative

Emma Baker | Contributing Reporter

After hip-hop artist Lizzo’s opening set closed at fall WILD Friday night, a group of Washington University students participated in a walkout demonstration to protest comedic rapper Lil Dicky’s headlining performance.

Whistles, quickly followed by chants of “black voices matter,” announced the walkout as students marched across Brookings Quadrangle to Bowles Plaza, where a “Black WILD” (B-WILD) alternative event was held. According to junior Clayton Covington, who helped organize the event, around 200 student participated, and the planning of the alternative WILD was inspired by a pre vious WILD walkout in the spring of 2016.

“I know that our black alumni, in particular, are very proud of us,” Covington wrote in a statement to Student Life.

“I think a large misconception about all of this is that many people think that B-WILD was a novel idea. However, B-WILD is an event that dates back as far as the spring of my first year.”

Senior Taylor Harris, who also helped to organize the event, urged students who didn’t protest Lil Dicky to consider the concert from the perspective of those who did.

“For those who do not understand why we chose to stand against Lil Dicky, I urge you to put yourself in the shoes of a people whose voice has been historically and systematically silenced by those in power. Put yourself in the shoes of a people whose life experiences are constantly invalidated by people who believe that their genuine concerns are nothing more than ‘whining,’” Harris wrote to Student Life. “There is no doubt in my heart that, if you felt like the system was unfair, you’d fight for fair representation, too.”

A document, shared with students who expressed interest in B-WILD, detailed the security that would be present and explained that the Washington University administration had made efforts to moderate and end the protest before it began.

According to Harris, the protest was successful in making a point to the University.

“I am so incredibly proud of those members of the Wash. U. community who stood in solidarity with the voices that need them the most,” Harris wrote. “The sheer number of allies who stood in support of those of us who felt marginalized and hurt by [Social Programming Board’s] and Wash. U.’s decision to host a problematic, racially and sexually insensitive artist should be a wake-up call to the University and its constituents.”

SPB president and junior Noah Truwit declined to comment on the walkout demonstration.