Progress Bar, a gay bar in Chicago previously known for its "diversity in music," has come under fire after a leaked email shows the bar prohibiting DJs from playing rap music. Many claim the ban has clear racist implications.
Here's the email that leaked online from the management at Progress Bar:
The bar makes it clear their new policy isn't a loose one:
"This is not a suggestion!! If you play RAP you will not be asked back."
Management also noted that there will be extra security "to help with this transition and one specifically posted next to the DJ booth."
Progress Bar, a gay bar in Chicago’s Boystown neighborhood, sent this out to their DJs banning rap music. This is f… https://t.co/jwm4UOGzzR— Bi Nguyen (@Bi Nguyen) 1559181909.0
Progress Bar immediately began receiving one-star reviews on Yelp, while many of their patrons spoke out against the change. Drag performer Quinn Hegarty thought the policy was clearly rooted in racial motivations, writing on Facebook:
"Soooo Progress, are you just gonna come out and say black people aren't welcome in your establishment?"
Progress quickly responded to the online uproar by writing on Facebook:
"Progress ownership wants to make it VERY clear that EVERYONE IS WELCOME HERE!!! We have no ill intentions here. That can not be stressed enough. … We are still going to play hiphop, please don't read too much into this."
@phillipethao Progress Bar management when they sat down to write this “apology” https://t.co/jEr0DT9M9X— 🇵🇷 (@🇵🇷) 1559192133.0
Twitter was having none of Progress's excuses:
Progress Bar in Chicago has a new policy and it’s qwhite interesting... Anyhow, there’s a new rainbow crosswalk out… https://t.co/i6MPYR9AnQ— shania twink (@shania twink) 1559176602.0
If wyt gay bars like Progress Bar don't want Blk patrons, I'm requesting we take these things back: -Slang -Dances… https://t.co/RIXSrf6LoI— Ryan Blocker (@Ryan Blocker) 1559227588.0
kind of exciting that my decisions to not go to progress bar are now a form of political activism instead of me not going to a shitty bar— mr pretzels (@mr pretzels) 1559180033.0
Many Chicagoans pledged to boycott Progress Bar for the foreseeable future.
Progress bar is NOT fucking with black people anymore!! “Think KissFM/B96 as opposed to WGCI”? Wow— Music Junkie (@Music Junkie) 1559180530.0
Many people also sounded off on how bad Progress's "apology" was.
File this statement from Progress Bar under “When white gay folks think they’re progressive, but actually have shit… https://t.co/yhSDRYrBrr— Matt Nelsen (@Matt Nelsen) 1559219213.0
Progress Bar management writing that statement after getting exposed for being racist trash: https://t.co/cRm6isK9iR— b (@b) 1559191821.0
It seems like Progress's decision to ban rap music might not have been the best business decision.
So #Progressbar a crazy white person attacks your bar, and the first thing you do is target Black people? LGBTQ Ra… https://t.co/LBR7ivtbeT— IAMGERALD (@IAMGERALD) 1559190958.0
LGBTQ bars like Progress exist because Black queer & trans folk rose up at Stonewall in 1969. That is why I'm suppo… https://t.co/oviaftDSSP— Ald. Carlos Ramirez-Rosa🌹 (@Ald. Carlos Ramirez-Rosa🌹) 1559236935.0
Progress Bar, a popular bar in Chicago has made it clear that they don’t want people of color in their establishmen… https://t.co/J74GYhl7bx— Prince Charming (@Prince Charming) 1559184998.0
Many felt their PRIDE months would be best spent elsewhere...
Welp, looks like it’s time to stop going to Progress Bar in Chicago. Time to find a new Boystown spot ☺️ https://t.co/kK72AGGtLy— Yvie’s Dad Stan Page (@Yvie’s Dad Stan Page) 1559189081.0
Shame on u progress bar chicago https://t.co/ASfRi9QyvN— Roger Moreno (@Roger Moreno) 1559239570.0
@ComicEricaClark Progress Bar? https://t.co/SQ8dzq4O6c— ... (@...) 1559218976.0
Progress later released a more formal apology:
Only time will tell whether Progress Bar stays true to their name.