Facebook page. This isn't the first, second, or third time 4th Street Live has been accused of racism. This also seems to be a trend of Cordish owned "Live" districts. The KC Live district in Kansas City has been the object of numerous complaints about racism.
On Tuesday, August 28th at 6:30pm there will be a forum held at the Improv to discuss discrimination at 4th Street Live. That sounds like a good first step by the Cordish Co, but I think the Improv has more to lose if black folks stop patronizing 4th Street Live than any other business. The improv depends on black patrons for its very survival. If you look at the comics that the Improv brings in most of them appeal to black folks. The Improv is the only business on 4th Street Live that advertises on an urban radio station. They had to act, but what about the other businesses on 4th Street Live and what should be done?
Before I go on and in the name of full disclosure, I supported 4th Street Live when it was first proposed. I still do. I think downtown Louisville is better off with 4th Street Live than without it. Like I said I was in favor of 4th Street Live when it was FIRST proposed. In the original proposal 4th Street Live was to include local businesses and not just chain bars or bars owned by Cordish. There was also a fund set up to help local businesses move south of 4th Street Live. As soon as the administration changed in Louisville many of those perks for local companies dried up.
Where do we go from here? I understand the desire to boycott 4th Street Live, and talk about changing the culture there, but I'm not sure that will solve the problem. We can talk to the owners and managers and they will promise to change their ways. Black promotors will have more opportunities to hold events at 4th Street and prove that Cordish's fear of young black folks are unfounded. I understand those sentiments, but it almost feels like we are begging to spend money at an establishment that has shown it doesn't want us.
I understand where the black party promotors are coming from. Louisville doesn't have an upscale black club besides Jazzy Blu. Where else are they suppose to go and hold their functions? Personally, I would love to see a group of black party promotors get together and use the spot light that they have now and open an upscale bar/club south of 4th Street. If 4th Street Live does not want your business fine. We can start out own thing.
I know we are suppose to fight for equal access, but I feel we need our own space. Martin Luther King faced the same dilema (granted on a much larger scale). He wanted an end to segregation, but still wanted black folks to keep their businesses and institutions at the same time. I think we can do both as well.