TV On The Radio in racism row with Village Voice

Band and paper clash over controversial cover

The Village Voice has published an angry letter from TV On The Radio saxophonist/flutist Martín Perna condemning the paper’s cover last week.

The famous New York publication ran a cover last week depicting caricatures of TV On The Radio’s Kyp Malone being run over by Bob Dylan on a scooter, in reference to Dylan beating TVOTR in the 34th Annual Pazz & Jop critics poll, prompting Perna to call the image “racist, unfunny, mean-spirited, and inaccurate”.

Perna wrote:


“Even in the post-Chappelle era of it being hip and edgy to discuss and portray ideas about race, there are still wrong, tasteless ways and this was one of them. Nowhere in the consciousness of Voice editors or illustrator David O’Keefe can we find memories of James Byrd, a black man who was dragged behind a truck to his death by white racists in Jasper, Texas, in 1998, or Arthur “J.R.” Warren, who was run over four times and killed for being black and gay in West Virginia in 2000, and all the other lynchings that happened in the U.S. before and since. These events are still fresh in the minds of black people, as well as in the hearts and minds of the rest of us who may not be directly victimized by these particular lynchings but who are nonetheless endangered by racism and committed to social justice and healing America of its sick racist condition.

He also directly accuses staff at the paper of being racist, adding:

“That this picture could be drawn and not questioned or vetoed by any of the people who saw it prior to publication shows the level of ignorance and racism that persists in leftist institutions like the Voice that continue to posture as hip and progressive.

Intentionally or not, this cover sends the all-too-familiar message to people of color: Make something too unique, make something outside of your assigned place-role, and get run over by a white man.”

As previously reported on NME.COM, TV On The Radio kick off a 30-date tour of North America on March 1 in Providence.

The dates are:


Providence, RI Lupo’s Heartbreak Hotel (March 1)

Montreal, Quebec Olympia Theatre (3)

Toronto, Ontario Kool Haus (4)

Cleveland, OH Agora Theatre & Ballroom (6)

Indianapolis, IN Vogue Theater (8)

Louisville, KY Brown Theatre (9)

Columbia, MO Blue Note (10)

Chicago, IL Metro (12/13)

Kansas City, MO Harrah’s Voodoo Lounge (17)

Denver, CO Ogden Theatre (19)

Salt Lake City, UT Urban Lounge (20)

Portland, OR Roseland Theatre (23)

Vancouver, British Columbia Commodore Ballroom (24)

Seattle, WA Moore Theatre (25)

San Francisco, CA Fillmore (28,29)

Los Angeles, CA Henry Fonda Theatre (30,31)

Dallas, TX Gypsy Tea Ballroom (April 1)

Austin, TX La Zona Rosa (5)

Houston, TX Meridian (6)

Orlando, FL Club at Firestone (9)

Fort Lauderdale, FL Culture Room (10)

Athens, GA 40 Watt Club (12)

Atlanta, GA Variety Playhouse (13)

Norfolk, VA NorVA (17)

Washington, DC 9:30 Club (18/19)

Poughkeepsie, NY Vassar College (21)

–By our New York staff.

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