Head Quarters night club on Center St. was the back drop of a gruesome murder several weeks ago that was reported by CBS 58 and other Milwaukee news sources to be a result of gang violence. In reaction to this, Quarters voluntarily closed its doors to preempt action that could be taken by the city. This was also a time in which the neighborhood could cool down and Quarters could make any changes that were recommended or required in order for business to resume once the month was finished.
Recently Quarters released its reopening plan and there are some shocking changes being made. The press release follows:
After going over the list of changes, there are some positive things. Security and cameras are essential for any business that makes its money off of alcohol sales, especially when there are crowds of people congregating.
2 of the biggest changes that are negative to me is the minimum age requirement being moved up to 25 years of age, and that they will no longer host rap shows, and maybe even play rap music.
Quarters was an establishment that was highly populated by an African-American crowd and it featured music that was generally along the lines of the mainstream rap and the club rap one would hear on urban radio, etc. So, without maybe meaning it to be this way, isn’t this plan really a way of saying that they are no longer catering to the African-American crowd that once populated it, thus trying to sell the idea that things should be safe because live rap music won’t be played?
I am not suggesting by any means that African-Americans are restricted to consuming one specific style of music or can only find entertainment through “rap showcases”. What I’m suggesting is that the history of the establishment simply has shown to be supportive of a specific arena of people, versus being as diverse as it’s competition on Center St., thus creating a niche market for themselves…one that it seems to be turning it’s back on now.
I have never been a big fan of Quarters, but I did go there on occasion for certain events. I also know that it was a good home for the Ladies First series. It wasn’t a great venue by any means, but it gave some people who I believe in a chance to cut their teeth and hone their performing skills. Personally, I don’t care much for club rap, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t deserve a venue and that it’s fans shouldn’t be able to have the freedom to select that style of music when at said establishment.
Quarters does not have to be 100% non-rap, nor does it have to be 100% all rap, but to say that all rap will cease to exist at Quarters as a result of the atrocity, something that was non-music related, is short-sighted and leans to appeasing those who are perpetually afraid of rap and minorities…showing once again the air of quiet racism Milwaukee is still polluted by.
Rap music is not the problem. The people who coincidentally consume rap music and happen to do violent things are the problem, just like the people who hang out at honky tonks and then go home to murder their spouse. I don’t hear country music getting blamed, so let’s stop that talk immediately. It’s not the music. It’s the decisions people make, themselves.
If Quarters is serious about becoming a place which the community can be proud of, hosting events of all different kinds is the key, rap included. Do some remodeling. Put the stage in the back facing the windows instead of in the middle of room if music is still going to be featured. If not, go all out with the restaurant idea and get rid of the bar/club aspect completely. Brighten the place up a little with more ambient lighting.
Whatever is done, I wish Quarters success, but not at the expense of using rap and those between the ages of 21 and 24 as a scapegoats.
– The Digital One