Region: North America
Medium: Music, Performance Art
Artist: Obo Addy and Kukrudu
Confronting Bodies: Parents
Dates of Action: 1991
Location: Diamond Valley School Lake Tahoe, California
Description of Artwork: A musical performance by the son of a Ghanian medicine man.
The Incident: Parents at Diamond Valley School objected to a performance by a musician who is the son of a Ghanian medicine man, out of concerns that he would use his performance to teach witchcraft and voodoo. The performance went on as planned, although some parents kept their children away. In advance of the performances, Obo Addy and his band, Kudrudu (Earthquake), distributed a "preview" video of the program. Parents who viewed the videotape were concerned about a section in Addy's performance in which he plays a "call and answer" game with the audience, using foreign words. Parents were concerned that he was teaching them chants to worship the devil. Ironically, the artist was actually teaching the children to say "thank you" and "you're welcome." The sponsoring Tahoe Arts Project supported the performance in the face of the objections, acknowledging that the parents were free to excuse their children from the performance, but insisting that other children not be prevented from participating. Harriet Goldman, Executive Director of the Project, expressed concern for the future of multicultural programs in the schools describing the reaction to them as thinly veiled racism.
Results of Incident: Artists performed.
Source: People for the American Way