A change of plans for spring concerts

Popular rap artist Ludacris will not headline the St. John’s Spring Weekend concert series this year, contrary to comments made by University administrators and on-campus advertisements in recent weeks.

The news came in a recent University statement through Director of Media Relations Dominic Scianna.

“The University had been in discussions with Ludacris and his management team regarding an appearance at the Queens Campus on April 21,” the statement said. “The University has chosen not to pursue that opportunity.”

In a March 27 interview with the Torch, Associate Dean of Students Darren Morton confirmed that Ludacris was the planned headlining act for the April 21 concert.

“[Ludacris] is the headliner,” he said. “Right now we’re just waiting on his people to finally sign the contract but I don’t think that would be a problem.”

The University changed its stance on Ludacris only two days later, however, when St. John’s was quoted in a New York Post article as only discussing a “possible appearance” of Ludacris at the University.

Morton said that the University looks at the criminal backgrounds and lyrics of all musical acts before approving them, and that the terms of the contracts require artists to perform the radio-edited versions of their songs. The University also may request that certain songs are not performed.

Ludacris is often noted for his controversial lyrics, which often include obscenities and lines that are considered by some to be misogynistic.

The University’s statement did not give a reason for the decision not to pursue Ludacris for the concert.

“The Department of Student Life and Student Government at St. John’s University are actively exploring other performing artists to headline the concert series at this time with an announcement to be made shortly,” according to the statement.

Sophomore Stephanie Dixon said that she believes that decision was based on controversy over Ludacris’ lyrics, as well as the recent debate over the University’s decision to not allow a production of the play “The Vagina Monologues” on campus.
“I understand the concern over the ability of students to have ‘The Vagina Monologues’ on campus,” she said. “But it’s excessive to attack the nature of Ludacris’ music.”

Junior Benjamin Blum, co-chair of the Academic Committee for SGI, disagreed.

“I was looking forward to the concert, but I understand the reasons why he was dropped,” he said.

As of now, the acts performing at the April 21 concert are bands Hellogoodbye and Girls Like Boys. Haraya will hold its annual Black Music Fest on April 20, with rapper Juelz Santana headlining.

If Ludacris had been the headlining act at the concert, Morton said that he would have been paid “about $85,000” by the University.

Director of Campus Activities Damien Duchamp declined to comment. Vice President of Student Affairs James Maher and Associate Vice President of Student Affairs Jose Rodriguez could not be reached for comment.