Terrorist Force Cancellation of Roots Concert at SXSW in Austin, Texas

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“The silhouette of a person at a concert throwing their hands up in the blue light” by Melissa Askew on Unsplash

Unknown domestic terrorist have struck again. This time forcing the cancellation of a musical concert by the African American band Roots.

The band composed of eight Black men was scheduled to perform in a show billed as Roots and Friends. The concert was sponsored by Bud Light/Anheuser-Busch at the popular SXSW annual festival.

The festival is a multi-cultural affair and brings together people from across the country and the world to enjoy food, art, cinema, and music. The Saturday night concert had a heavy colored flavor. Sharing billing with Roots were: Ludacris, Jessie Reyez, Rapsody and Tank and the Bangas.

While concert goers were standing in line to get into the concert, the sponsors issued this statement:

“After working proactively with SXSW, the Austin Police Department, and other authorities, Bud Light believes this is the best course of action to ensure the safety of our guests, staff, and artists, and appreciate your understanding. We are truly sorry to have to cancel the event, but we felt it was necessary to take all safety precautions.”

Rolling Stone reported that the cancellation was due to bomb threats.

Bomb threats are usually issued to strike fear into the hearts and minds of its intended audience. This is the classic definition of terrorism. But when it comes to the lives of Black people, the government gets a hiccup in its throat.

This month, three African Americans have been killed by package bombs in minority communities in Austin, Texas. In spite of this fact, very little news coverage has been given to these terrorist attacks.

President Trump has not spoken out about the tragic loss of life in Austin due to these acts of terrorism in Texas. Perhaps, Trump feels there are some good people on the other side making and planting those bombs.

Thus far, the authorities are only willing to say that the bombings are suspected hate crimes. When it comes to violence perpetrated upon Black people local, state and federal governmental agencies are reluctant to characterize the violence as acts of terrorism.

We know from our collective history that white groups have resorted to terrorist acts against Black people in the past. See the history of the rise of the KKK in America following the presidential election of 1876. That year, the election of Rutherford B. Hayes inspired white men to whip the Black populace back into line with acts of terror.

Clearly, Austin, Texas has been signalled out as an area to level an all out assault against people of color by individuals or members or a hate group. The federal government must act quickly and decisively to bring those responsible for these acts of terrorism against people of color in this country to justice.

The full weight of the FBI should be brought to bear against hate groups in this country similar to how the FBI went after and destroyed the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense in the late 1960s.

Harold Michael Harvey is an American novelist and essayist. He is a Contributor at The Hill, SCLC National Magazine, Southern Changes Magazine and Black College Nines. He can be contacted at hmharvey@haroldmichaelharvey.com

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Harvey is Living Now Book Awards 2020 Bronze Medalist for his memoir Freaknik Lawyer: A Memoir on the Craft of Resistance. Available at haroldmichaelharvey.com

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