Several audience members at Thursday night’s benefit performance of Destiny Africa Children’s Choir expressed great outrage upon learning that the concert was not, in fact, a reunion of Destiny’s Child, the R&B group from the late 1990s.
The concert, which took place at the Memorial Chapel on High Street, asked for an optional donation to the Kampala Children’s Centre, a Ugandan orphanage. Once it became apparent that Beyoncé and her cohorts would not perform, people began to ask for their money back.
“When I heard Destiny’s Child would be playing a concert in September, I was even more psyched to come to Wesleyan,” said Keelin Ryan ’14, during the show. “But what a let-down.”
Joan Cooper Burnett, the designated Protestant Chaplain at the university, said that at the beginning of the concert she had been hopeful. “Even an hour before the concert began, people were lined up all the way down High Street in order to get seats; I thought, finally, something we’re doing, it’s getting people’s attention. But,” she added mournfully, “after two songs, people just started leaving.”
“The Chapel is simply not large enough to house the number of people who planned to attend the concert,” Mother Burnett said, “but as dissatisfied customers started to leave, more room opened up inside the hall. And yet, almost as soon as the new people entered, they left. So what ultimately happened was this rip tide effect with the people going out saying ‘It’s not Destiny’s Child, don’t go in there,’ and the people coming in just too eager and not listening and trampling over everyone else. It was utter pandemonium.”
Once it dawned upon the large crowd outside that they would not get to see a revival performance of “Say My Name” or “Bootylicious,” people began to riot. One unidentifiable junior shouted, “I came to see Destiny’s Child, not orphans!” A small group of sophomores wearing DC apparel — including shirts, headbands, and sweatpants — were weeping in a huddle.
Inside the concert hall, the pandemonium was even greater. In the middle of the second song, students started hurling tomatoes and apples at the orphans who were dancing on stage and the performance eventually had to be cut short.
After the concert was halted, one child testified to a university reporter: “This is even worse than Uganda.” Another child replied, “No, it’s not.