Dear SXSW-ers, don’t disrespect the musicians

seymaliVocalist and musician Noura Mint Seymali from the Islamic Republic of Mauritania performed at the Globalfest showcase at the Palm Door last night and she was magnificent. The clarity and power of her voice, soaring over mesmerizing desert rambles from her skilled band, is astounding. A solid crowd pressed forward to catch her show at the Palm Door around midnight.

For the most part everyone was thoroughly entranced, and she was given a wonderful reception. Then there was this dude.

It seems like we shouldn’t have to say this (we’re all grown ups, right?), but apparently we do: Dear SXSW-ers, don’t disrespect the musicians.

We get that South by Southwest is a magical experience that puts you up close and personal with amazing artists from around the world. It’s easy to get swept up in the moment. If an artist invites you onstage to dance with them, you win. Get up there and be part of the action. But under no circumstances should you jump on stage and just start dancing. It doesn’t matter if you’re a sliding, gliding, silver-toed fool who dominates the dance floor. No one wants to see you. No one.

This is doubly true if the performing artist is a woman and you are a man. Do not invite yourself onstage to dance with her.

This is triply true if the performing artist is a woman from an Islamic country who gracefully adjusts her headscarf several times throughout her performance, indicating she values her modesty. No really, don’t invite yourself onstage to dance with her.

Seymali’s musicians looked mortified as a strange man jumped onstage, drink in hand, and gyrated like an idiot behind one of their country’s most revered artists. Thankfully, the whole incident only lasted about 30 seconds before the man in question was escorted out.

But it left us feeling obligated to write this public service announcement. We love that SXSW brings so many amazing musicians around the world to our beautiful city. Let’s all make them feel welcome. Cheer wildly at their shows and dance madly in the audience, but please, let’s show them respect.


Author: Deborah Sengupta Stith

Deborah Sengupta Stith has been hanging out in dimly lit corners of the city soaking in the music scene for almost 20 years. Twitter: @deborific

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