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London venue in racism row over axed Grenfell benefit

An east London bar and music venue has said it will positively discriminate to increase the diversity of its programming after the organiser of a fundraiser for the victims of the Grenfell Tower fire was told its event would attract a “poor-quality demographic”.

Haqiqi Events, the London-based event planner behind the 29 June Cxlture show, postponed the event after being told by Jordan Wells, general manager of the 480-cap. Trapeze Bar (pictured), that the bashment and trap music artists it had booked are “crap”, and that the venue does “not entertain [these genres] as they attract [a] poor-quality demographic and result in problems”.

After posting a screenshot of Wells’s email online, Haqiqi postponed the event, which aimed to raise £1,000, saying it is “not associating with a business like this”. The company also accused Trapeze and owner Miroma Leisure of “racism”.

Haqiqi founder Taireen Hussain says the event will be rescheduled.

The row has echoes of the ongoing controversy over form 696, a risk-assessment form critics say discriminates against primarily black musical styles such as grime, garage and bashment.

“We have spoken with the promoters and offered them another date of their choice and offered to double the money raised on the night for Grenfell”

In a statement, Miroma washed its hands of the “unsolicited opinions from an employee of ours” and offered to double the amount raised by should Haqiqi wish to keep Cxlture at Trapeze.

“The owners of Trapeze apologise for the recent actions and opinions expressed by the Trapeze general manager,” it reads. “Trapeze [is] committed to a policy of welcoming all guests into the venue and does not discriminate in terms of race, age, colour, sex or national origin. The management team of Miroma Leisure, owners of Trapeze, are undertaking a full investigation of the matter and will take affirmative action following the outcome. We have spoken with the promoters and offered them another date of their choice and offered to double the money raised on the night for Grenfell as a gesture of goodwill.

“We plan to assist the promoters to raise awareness of the new date. We will be proud to announce the new date in due course and do everything possible to make the event a resounding success.”

Hussain said he “acknowledges” the apology but suggests the venue should make a “heavy donation” (emphasis his) to the victims of the fire. “Only then can we accept your apology on their behalf, but not before.”


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