As Pride month gets underway, LGBTQ neighborhoods around the country are planning their annual commemorative events, with shops and restaurants and bars getting into the spirit. But for one Chicago bar located in the heart of the city’s famed Boystown area, the month has started out with an unfortunate reminder of the inequalities too often still present in predominantly queer spaces.
Block Club Chicago reports that Progress Bar, a Boystown nightclub with a reputation for its broad diversity of music, has been met with considerable backlash over a policy initially e-mailed to the bar’s DJs that would ban all rap music from rotation and promised “added security there to help with this transition.” The email was leaked through social media:
As implied, B96 and KISS-FM are the city’s best-known Top 40 pop stations; WGCI its most prominent hip-hop outlet. The response on social media was immediate, with many taking note of the thinly veiled racism inherent in the bar’s new policy and demanding that the policy be rescinded.
The club’s initial statement insisted that “there are NO racial intentions here” and encouraged patrons to not “read too much into this”, but a day later, owner Justin Romme acknowledged in a public apology that the email “should never have been written or sent.” For at least Thursday night, Progress closed its doors to “begin working to heal the pain.” It is unclear as of this publication whether this means that the ban will no longer go into effect.
For more on the story (and for some great all-around local reportage in general) Block Club Chicago’s coverage is commendable as always.