Enjoy Oxford, a destination marketing organization formerly known as the Oxford Visitors Bureau, posted an apology to their Facebook page last Thursday after receiving a number of one star reviews due to a lack of racial diversity in the Uptown Music concert series lineup.
“There’s been a lot of justifiable critique about our Uptown concert series this year,” the page wrote. “The lack of diversity in the musician lineup is something that we will not make excuses for. We are sorry. Our lineup this year clearly does not reflect the diverse Oxford that we love.”
Enjoy Oxford promised to make a “conscious effort” to ensure future lineups will represent diversity, and thanked the community for holding them accountable.
The lineup was announced via Facebook on May 1.
Last Thursday, patrons began rating the page with one and two star reviews, criticizing the “colorblindness” of the music selection.
“I used to attend your summer series, but it lost its edge,” Mark Mussman, a Miami alum and former patron of the series, wrote. “You claim colorblind selection, but that’s actually a delusion. Colorblindness is a form of racism. The right thing to do would be purposefully include people of color in the lineup. I’ve stopped coming to these events because of the lack of representation. Which sucks, because it was a respite from city life in Cincinnati.”
In retaliation for the negative reviews, some community members chose to counter them with positive five star reviews.
Bob Kearns, a Cincinnati area native, wrote alongside his five star review, “Please stay true to who you are. Don’t make me rethink sending my three children to an alma matar [sic]. Don’t bend to bend!”
The Enjoy Oxford page received 44 reviews over the course of the day last Thursday, 13 of which were two stars or below. The other 31 reviews were all five stars, and some of them referenced the controversy.
The remaining total reviews the page has received have been sporadically written over the course of multiple years.