For the last ten years, Ani DiFranco has been my own personal Goddess. She was my favorite artist since the day I became a teenager, giving me music about Life, the Universe, and Everything. Most importantly, she had a myriad of songs about feminism, workers rights, politics, white privilege, being queer, and environmentalism, all topics that have been of great interest to me over the years.
In the last few days, there has been an internet explosion over a songwriting workshop she had planned called Righteous Retreat in the Big Easy. The problem? The retreat is to take place at the Nottoway Plantation in Louisiana.
According to the Nottoway website, it was one of the largest plantations in the South, with 155 enslaved people to its name. The history section of the website whitewashes the issue to the point of offensiveness and waxes poetic about how “various records indicate that [the slaves] were probably well treated for the time.”
Needless to say, holding a self touted feminist/progressive event at an old plantation is a move that ranges from racially insensitive to incredibly offensive.