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Posted under: Music News

'If You Play Rap, You Will Not Be Asked Back': A Chicago Nightclub Named Progress Bar Tried (And Failed) To Implement A Rap Ban

"This is not a suggestion!! If you play RAP you will not be asked back.”

A leaked email from Progress Bar, a gay nightclub in Boystown, Chicago, reveals how DJs are now banned from playing rap music -- and some are calling their new policy racist.

The nightclub regularly hosts dance parties and is reportedly known for playing diverse music. But in an email leaked on Wednesday night, the bar mentioned that they were "changing up their format" and their goal was to promote a "positive" and fun vibe.

"We have implemented a NO RAP rile effective immediately," Progress reps wrote in a email that has been shared across social media. "This is not a suggestion!! If you play RAP you will not be asked back.”

The email continues that anything "vulgar, aggressive or considered mumble rap," including Cardi B and some newer Nicki Minaj tracks, would be "off limits." Added security would be present at the bar during the transition, including security "posted next to the DJ booth."

Social media users slammed the changes, with some suggesting the bar was lashing out against patrons of color.


"So excited to never to to Progress again," one user commented under a Facebook post. While other users hit back that it wasn't only black people who listened to rap music, but many other ethnicities as well.

On their end, Progress responded that everyone is welcome to their bar and apologized. The bar decided to close on Thursday night for some reflection. 

"We value our customers and respect EVERYONE. We are not the 1st bar to look into changing their sound, and we will not be the last. We are looking to try something new. We don't know if it will work or not, but we want the opportunity to progress," their Facebook post reads.

“When we reopen, we will do so with a renewed commitment to create a space whose patronage, atmosphere, and — yes —music reflects the diversity of our community,” the post continued.

The nightclub says that they are about moving forward and continuing to evolve, but they need the diversity and support of the LBGTQ community.

"We hope that you will stand by us while we tweak things here and there. But understand, above all, there are NO racial intentions here. We love every person who walks through these doors and appreciate each and everyone of you. We have no ill intentions here. That can not be stressed enough."

The bar says that the sound isn't going to be that different, after all. They're just "tweaking what's already" there.

"We are still going to play hip-hop, please don't read too much into this," they noted.

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Nisean Lorde is a writer for Blavity News.