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Fair St. Louis Responds to Claims of Segregation

Kevin Killeen (@KMOXKilleen)
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Art Hill on July 5, 2014 (Photo: KMOX/Brad Choat)

Art Hill on July 5, 2014 (Photo: KMOX/Brad Choat)

ST. LOUIS (KMOX) – Fair St. Louis is responding to allegations it segregated R&B bands to a lesser stage instead of the main stage in Forest Park.

State Sen. Jamilah Nasheed has written a letter to the Executive Director of the Fair demanding answers as to why Musiq Soulchild and En Vogue performed on smaller and remote stages even though the main stage wasn’t being used at the time of their performances.

She says a lot of people had their feelings hurt when the main stage at the bottom of Art Hill was empty and several black bands played on a smaller stage off to the side.

“The planners need to make a public apology to all of those individuals that they have offended,” Nasheed says. “It wasn’t one person that called me. I saw it for myself. This was a sound that was resonating throughout the African American community on social media.”

Alonzo Byrd, a board member of Fair St. Louis, says plenty of black bands have graced the main stage in years past.

This year, he says, they tried to get Earth Wind and Fire for the main stage, but couldn’t.

“We apologize, but I don’t think there’s really a need for that,” Byrd says. “That was just a perception. Look at the history of the Fair over the last decade or two. We know how to put on a fair. We’ve had African Americans on the main stage.”

He also says the acts that performed on the side stage were put there because it’s a shady glen, and planners expected hotter weather than they got.

(TM and © Copyright 2014 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2014 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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