fitzgerald's-houston

The established Houston venue delivers racist response after Trakksounds’ attempts to book the venue.

Fitzgerald’s Live in Houston is easily making itself known as a racist, non-hip-hop inviting venue. Producer Trakksounds took to Twitter early Tuesday afternoon to display his frustration with the venue after attempting to book the venue for an album release show with Starlito & Don Trip.

“The boycotting for @FitzgeraldsLive starts now,” he wrote. This type of response is a disgrace. I will never step foot inside of this place again.”

The e-mail response from Fitzgerald’s Live doesn’t mince words or attempt to hide its blatant racism. “I’m gonna pass on this,” the email begins. “Not a big fan of the nigger, bitch, gonnafuckingshootyou” music or the fans that wear their pants under their ass with 18 inches of underwear showing, drink and smoke pot in the parking lot then scream “you racist bitch” when I ask that they take their lit joint outside. 300 fans that buy little, tip little and create big disharmony – no thanks.”

Two years ago, Pegstar, the name and brand behind over 2,500 shows at Fitzgerald’s Houston ceded operations over to Lauren Oakes, who was then the sound engineer. Oakes is no longer with the venue as all operations went back to Sara Fitzgerald. Fitzgerald, who founded the venue in 1977, currently serves as the head in charge.

Many have taken to social media to voice their displeasure with the email and comments. Those who have promoted shows at the venue in recent months already made it certain that they’ll never set foot inside the venue again.

“Boycott Fitz.”

The language presented in the email response is partially in line with how Fitzgerald’s has booked acts in the last year and change since Fitzgerald took over. In the last two months, only two rap acts – Kay Jay with Devin the Dude and #HTXIndieFest have played the venue. Before her leadership, numerous acts from Doughbeezy to Killa Kyleon, RiFF RaFF and others have performed at the venue.

Fitz responded to Trakksounds’ promise of a boycott with the following, “Boycott away. We do not host misogynistic music that worships rape culture and harbors hatred.”

Photo: CultureMap

UPDATE (3:35 PM) Fitzgerald’s owner Sara Fitzgerald responded to the boycott claims in the Houston Press. Her initial complaints were regarding the Starlito & Don Trip song, “Brutus & Caesar”.

“I listened to the song, and every other word was the [lyrics] I put in quotes,” she says. “And I said to him something to the effect that I don’t want to do that type of music. You know, sometimes I don’t know what I’m getting. Sometimes I book a show and I’m not too sure what comes. We’ve had rap acts, and we had [comedian] Hannibal Burress this past weekend and he used the n-word, you know, in his comedy act.

“It seemed appropriate there,” says Fitzgerald, who resumed day-to-day operations of the venue about a year ago after leasing it out for several years, a period that was not without controversy itself. “But this gratuitous violence and one cuss word after an other just seems to be the hallmark of that music, but after a while it gets quite boring, and the people that like that are just hard to deal with, frankly.”

“Why is my reputation on the line? It was their lyrics,” she insists. “It was their lyrics. That’s what I’m scratching my head about.”

“I shouldn’t have said anything,” she says. “I don’t know. It’s something I’ve been scratching my head over for a long time, because I like to think that we’re open to all kinds of music, but I just…it’s embarrassing.”

“And maybe I’m just old [and] I’m not getting it,” she says. “But for them to say I don’t like black music…I mean, I’ve probably had more black music in Fitzgerald’s than any white club in town. I like music, and I like black music. I just don’t know how to deal with this type of music.”

This story has been updated to reflect that Fitzgerald, not Oakes is the current head at Fitzgerald’s.

36 Responses

  1. popeNQM

    Say, why do you keep on bringing Lauren Oakes in to it? Particularly this paragraph.

    “The language presented in the email response is partially in line with how Fitzgerald’s has booked acts in the last year and change since Oakes took over. In the last two months, only two rap acts – Kay Jay with Devin the Dude and #HTXIndieFest have played the venue. Before her leadership, numerous acts from Doughbeezy to Killa Kyleon, RiFF RaFF and others have performed at the venue.”

    As you mentioned briefly earlier in the article, Lauren is no longer with the venue. In fact her time in charge was incredibly brief and she has no culpability for how the venue has booked since pegstar left.

    I’m all about calling out those actually involved but involving Lauren in this seems irresponsible.

    Reply
  2. Arthur Long

    Is it really “racist”, or is it a business decision based on music type and audience? If they banned all types of black musicians, that would be racist. Do they ban a soul singers or jazz musicians that are black? On the contrary, would they ban white rappers?

    If you allow performers whose patrons would make them no money, and hurt the brand of Fitzgerald as an art-music house, why would you allow them?

    Maybe also they don’t like music where women are degraded? Why is that not okay? No one would be upset if a college campus barred a speaker who called women derogatory names; in fact, they would be applauded. Yet at the same time, you are racist is you don’t like people rapping derogatorily about women. It’s illogical and stupid.

    Reply
    • Scottie

      theres nothing wrong with wanting a certain kind of event in your venue. The professional way to do that is “Gonna pass on this show. Thank you though.”

      Reply
      • Arthur Long

        They would still get mad. They are providing a reason. Sure the words in the email seem harsh, but it is just their lyrics being quoted back at them.

        I bet my bottom dollar if they followed the smoking rules, pulled their pants up, and didn’t rap racist or sexist lyrics, they would be welcome.

      • Music maniac

        People get turned away from them all the time and dont call them racist. So dont try to justify her actions with a “What If”. She shouldnt have said the shit she said. And
        Pants hanging and the extra commentary were NOT in his lyrics…

      • JayT

        I would beg to differ. Sara Fitzgerald (owner) wrote a highly inappropriate, harsh, racist email response back to Mr Garrett Brown and is now attempt to use “misogynistic” lyrics as an excuse. It doesn’t fly when she, as the owner, allowed groups like Mastodon, and Poor Dumb Bastards utilize her venue under ANY capacity! Shame on you Sara!

    • Regina Arnold

      Have to agree. Hate the way Rap music particularly black rappers are so derogatory towards women. My co worker and I were just speaking about this. Why do they have to debase them? like how low can you go? I think it was her wording that did it. Sounds like she was frustrated and just let it out. Oh and I am black, but not alwsys proud.

      Reply
    • Ash

      How can you just say “eh” to that response? It was very unprofessional of her, especially to slap a stereotype like that on. Ridiculous. This is ridiculous. I will no longer go to shows here.

      Reply
      • Jesus Christ

        She made a statement equivalent to saying you live on earth or it’s 2017. Stereotypes are true sometimes my child and this one is spot on. She didn’t say anything about a part race,she was speak on a culture. If you’re unaware of that then I think it’s great you stay away from there, and maybe also any other place that isn’t your room…

  3. Concerned

    Lauren Oakes’ name needs to be removed from this article completely. Do your research before you publish. Journalism 101, Brandon.

    Reply
    • Brandon Caldwell

      Did my research actually. Lauren used to work at Fitz and left not long before Sara Fitzgerald took back over all operations. There’s also a notion mentioned at the very bottom of the article that reflect the changes.

      Reply
  4. Willie

    I have seen multiple black musicians at Fitzgerald’s in the twenty plus years I have attended Rock shows there, I do not think it is about race.

    Reply
    • Sunny

      what does you seeing black artists have to with proving that they aren’t racist? What she said was very ignorant and it annoys me when people like you act blind and attempt to act as if you don’t see a wrong here. What she said was very uncalled for.

      Reply
  5. Sken

    I think its the hard R that comes off as agressive and disrespectful.
    A no would have sufficed

    Reply
  6. Wraith of Khan

    […] to me that someone would respond that way. Day & A Dream covered it more throughly here. The very fastidious Elizabeth Rhodes reported it on it […]

    Reply
  7. IES

    Like she said she is old. Most white old people talk this way about minorities and think it’s ok.

    Reply
  8. robknob85

    Unfortunately this isn’t very surprising. This woman is known for bad business. Starlito and Trip are two of my favorite rappers and I’m looking forward to seeing them in a non-prejudiced venue. Man this country is taking way too many steps backwards. I remember seeing Agnostic Front at Fitzgeralds 15+ years ago as a young juvenile delinquent and there was a good portion of skinhead assholes there but apparently that was ok. And I smoked tons of weed upstairs. Probably was sagging too.

    Reply
  9. Gexal Crankshaft

    Oh for the love of God, you libtarded snowflakes are addicted to the fake news. Fitzgerald is the best music venue in Houston. Always has been…

    Reply
  10. Omar

    A simple no would’ve sufficed, she used the word nigger, and assumed Mr.Brown’s fan would be the stereotypical black club-go-er. Not acceptable from a “professional”. She should definitely loose all her minority customers! I remember going to that venue, and it’s been a few years since I bee in high school, but nonetheless, it’s a hole in the wall place, where local bands go to play. Never heard of anyone good playing there , obviously personal opinion. Its in a really terrible neighborhood. Parking is terrible!!!

    Reply
    • Lucab

      Wow Omar. You must not be from Houston or not know about music. Have you ever read or heard about the history of that place and who’s played there!!??? The band’s that have played there are great band with lots of talent. Do your research on some of the bands that have played there before talking your trash. Or maybe expand your mind a liitle more. As for the neighborhood, there are beautiful homes and awsome businesses around there.

      Reply
  11. Screwtapesquire

    You left out punctuation from the original email when you quoted her letter which made it clear that the racial slur in the letter was part of her attempt to paraphrase/quote the artist in questions music. I would have to read the lyrics to the music it’s self to see if that paraphrase/quote is faithful to the actual lyrics. If it is, and if the lyrics of your own music sound racist when they are spit back at you, maybe you shouldn’t write racist music.

    Reply
  12. JAMtastic

    It’s not a stereotype if it is a common occurrence. Ever heard of statistical significance? Sara Fitzgerald stated that they hosted several similar gigs before, and the audience these gigs attracted were less than favorable to staff members and the manager.

    I think what is missing here is the “other side of the story.” Too many people are quick to form an opinion without thinking objectively.

    Beyond that, I find it rather ironic that Garrett Brown says “… god bless you” while promoting music that would be considered sacrilegious, degrading, and sinful to someone of such faith. Would you play the song in a church? Hell no.

    I actually heard the song on the radio today while they interviewed her. They had to bleep out practically every third word in the song, because the FCC would be all over it if they aired the original lyrics. Not much substance to a song that is devoid of any meaningful message. That alone would be cause to deny the gig.

    Alas, people will be crybabies about it. Move along, folks… it isn’t worth your time to boycott a great venue with so much history.

    Reply
  13. Peety Green

    I bet everyone who seen no wrong in her ignorance and justifies it has a nice level of racism and hatred within.You’d hate to admit it publicly but seen not to be behind keypads and phone screens-sad life/mad world.

    Reply

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