Promoter Faces Backlash Over Misguided Juneteenth Event

 

The ink of Joe Biden’s signature officializing the Juneteenth holiday had not even dried yet, but that didn’t stop promoters from doing what they do. So immediately, they sprang into action, scrambling at the last minute to somehow capitalize and tie the holiday to speedo-clad weekend pool parties, beach events, and muscle boy fiestas, all in the good name of honoring the emancipation proclamation.

One such promoter, a prominent presence on the Fire Island scene, found himself in hot water this weekend when one of his event flyers began circulating on Facebook to promote a sexy underwear party on June 19th. That promoter, Daniel Nardicio, posted the flier and it looked reasonably innocuous at first until I scanned down further and noticed,

“$20 COVER OR $15 AT THE DOOR WITH PASSWORD “JUNETEENTH” OR IN ANDREW CHRISTIAN UNDIES.”

Ok, Yikes. There’s so much to unpack here. But I’ll start with the obvious. Even if we were to look past the insensitivity of using the days-old name of the first national holiday to commemorate the end of slavery, as a password for an underwear party, I can’t ignore the fact that the flier itself features two white guys. Like yoooo, where da bruthas at? 

Seriously, that was the easiest, most low-hanging fruit of things NOT to f*CK up, and yet there it is. No black men on the flier? I would be remiss not to also mention the caption that accompanied the post stated,

“Tonight we celebrate Juneteenth at Dwolrd Underwear Party on Fire Island with Corey Craig and special guest gogo Maine Attraction!” 

Celebrate how, exactly? I was confused by the two white guys again. Well, it wasn’t just me who was perplexed as this announcement went over very poorly for many who found the marketing campaign offensive.

And I have to say I winced when I saw it play out on Facebook in real-time before Nardicio took down the post. In the thread that accompanied the post, Nardicio was basically accused of insensitively capitalizing on black suffering by promoting a party to a predominately white, homogenized demographic. In one exchange, Nardicio fired back, “Well would it be better to ignore it and not celebrate it at all?”

That response prompted me to reply, but as I was typing my answer, the post quickly vanished before I could finish; it seems like it got removed by Nardicio, who hopefully understood the severity of this misstep.


Corey Craig, who is African American and a legendary presence himself as a renowned DJ – and whose name appears on the flier, also found himself on the receiving end of some public backlash. Someone took him to task for the situation, however that is a misdirected criticism. Corey is NOT the event promoter. Additionally, Corey has for years been a leading advocate for diversifying Fire Island and ushering in a new generation of LGBTQIA people of color.  

As I checked out the social posts for the event on Nardicio’s Facebook wall, it appears that maybe the marketing flier had already been created for the underwear party featuring the two white models. So when Juneteenth became a national hot item, it seems hastily it got added as a quick promotional afterthought to boost interest in the event. 

Whatever the reason, Nardicio faced a bit of dragging on social media as this blew up. As I mentioned, he took the post down.

So, look, I have never met Nardicio, but I follow him on Facebook, and though I believe the Juneteenth debacle warrants some criticism, I don’t believe it was done with malice or intent to harm. From what I understand, he is a very good guy who often promotes his events with diversity and inclusion, using a mix of white models and models of color. And also, this underwear event does feature “Maine attraction,” who is a notable queer, black burlesque queen.

I genuinely believe this situation can be a great teachable moment for white people if they are willing to learn that they must be cautious around sensitive narratives like race and slavery— even when well-intended. These complex issues must never be reduced to buzz words or promo codes for the sake of commercialization – or without proper context. It’s no different than cringe-worthy fliers promoting MLK weekends, whereas the event has nothing to do with the plight for equality. For God’s sake, at least give 10% of the event proceeds to a black inequity organization and make it all relative.

I acknowledge too, the matter of race is a mine field these days. It’s especially so for white people in the wake of Black Lives Matter and the global riots around the George Floyd murder. Truthfully, many well-meaning white people, including Nardicio are walking on eggshells not knowing even how or IF they should celebrate Juneteenth with their fellow African Americans. As we see, things can go south pretty quickly when it’s not done thoughtfully. 

Personally, rather than drag Nardicio on social media, I would rather share dialogue and answer the question he posed to his Facebook detractor of “would it be better to ignore it and not celebrate it at all?”

I would offer in response, no, please don’t ignore it. We want you and everyone to celebrate Juneteenth with us, but in doing so, just be mindful of what it means for 48,000,000+ African Americans who would take offense to it being reduced to a discount code for entrance into an underwear party full of mostly white people.

So hey, next Juneteenth, let’s do this again …but next time put some sexy chocolate boys on that flier baby!


For those wanting to be part of a more progressive and diverse Fire Island experience, please check out Black and Brown Equity Coalition of Cherry Grove (BABEC)

Statement from the Black and Brown Equity Coalition of Cherry Grove: “We envision a Cherry Grove community that is more racially diverse where Black people and all people of color (POC) are actively heard, welcomed, and celebrated.”

 

12 thoughts on “Promoter Faces Backlash Over Misguided Juneteenth Event”

  1. The sad thing is the majority of Americans have no idea what Juneteenth is all about. In this case, if he did I would hope that he would have made a better choice. And having a black person on the flyer says nothing. There are many African Americans don’t know what it is about. The statement the author made, “Truthfully, many well-meaning white people, including Nardicio are walking on eggshells not knowing even how or IF they should celebrate Juneteenth with their fellow African Americans”. People would not have to walk on eggshells if they educated themselves. It’s simple, if you didn’t know, then ask somebody or google it !!

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  2. If you don’t like how the party planners planned their party……you are free to go and plan your own party and show them the “proper” way to do it.

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    • I would say ‘Don’t be dumb’ but your inane comment came first. You don’t even know what you’re talking about, which is a sign you should STFU.

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  3. I think the author and commenters so far are overreacting. You are embracing outrage for the sake of being outraged. If the password had been “MemorialDay” for an underwear party around Memorial Day would you be expressing similar outrage for disrespecting veterans?

    How many July 4, Memorial Day, Labor Day, MLK Day, Presidents Day, Veteran’s day, etc., sales are there nationwide selling cars, refrigerators, towels, chlorine tablets, etc. that have nothing whatsoever to do with the holiday they are selling their wares in the name of?

    The DJ and the featured entertainer for the party were black which was at least a nod to inclusion. Fire Island is overwhelming a white boys world. Perhaps having to type “Juneteenth” to save $5 on an entrance fee may have made a few of those white boys say to themselves, “what’s that” and then google it to find out more about the origins of this day.

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    • Exactly. And it takes more than a minute to plan a party. This Juneteenth becoming a federal holiday…. which means next to nothing, “federal holidays” are useless if you don’ work for the government or a bank….happened so fast and at the last minute, it is a miracle that most of the events which have taken placed to celebrate this year could even get made in time. My city threw a parade….and it takes three months to get a permit to hold a parade in this burg….so looks like permit for JUNETEENTH got fast tracked.

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    • You don’t get to tell other people how they should either respond or feel about whatever. You may think they’re over-reacting, but to be fair who give a fuck what you think?

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  4. This chain of events is pretty disappointing, but I agree that I doubt the promoter had bad intentions. I love this part of this article: “I genuinely believe this situation can be a great teachable moment for white people if they are willing to learn that they must be cautious around sensitive narratives like race and slavery— even when well-intended. ”

    That is exactly what this is – a teachable moment. That’s how we make the world better. Draw attention to this, and bring your fellow man up a notch.

    Those of you responding with hateful labels like “scumbag”, “dumbfucks”… you aren’t helping or adding any value to the world. Check yourself.

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  5. Entirely agree, the worst piece of self-serving moral bankruptcy imaginable on a day commemorating the end of the enslavement of Africans by white masters in America. Glad it got pulled, and I hope we don’t see the like of it again.

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  6. They might as well thrown the, “N” word as well for this absolute bullshit underwear party. What a complete bunch of ignorant dumbfucks. Educate yourselves, take a permanent seat and know your place ignorant queens.

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    • It is like if they threw a white party or a foam party to celebrate 9-11. Gays thinking with their wallet’s and dick’s again. Sorry, no excuse, he is a complete scumbag!

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