I’m in tears. I have been a fan of a particular independent folk artist by the name of S.J. Tucker for a few years now, and her music is brilliant. I was googling some of her performances and came across one where she used the word “Gypsy” and her boyfriend listed “Gypsy rules.” Of course, i was upset, but being that she is someone that I look up to musically, I wrote her this email:> Hi S.J.,
> I’ve been listening to your music for about 3 years now, and i’ve happened upon a video that really concerned me as a fan. It was titled “gypsy rules.” I don’t think it’s appropriate for you or your boyfriend to be using a slur so carelessly (yes gypsy is a slur for Romani), to mock or stereotype Romani people, or to appropriate “gypsy dress”. I am Romani, and we are real people, going through real issues due to being a nonwhite ethnic group in Europe. If you were to search news websites on Romani people you would see a lot of prejudice and racism continuing. It just pains me as a fan to see that my ethnicity was treated as a joke and a slur that has been used to personally hurt me for years thrown around so carelessly by non-Romani people.
Now, I was a little scared to see how this would be treated by her, but I just received this:
Thank you for writing and for speaking your truth to me.
Please accept my deepest apologies and regrets for any pain that this
video and performance caused you.
Thank you for taking the time to point out this issue and to shine a
light on ignorance.
For what it’s worth, I have since repented of my own personal
ignorance in this case, and Kevin has also completely stopped
performing that piece as previously done. I am CC’ing him on this
The only thing that I can do beyond offering you these words is ask
the poster of the video to take it down. And tell him why. I can and
will do this.
It says a lot about the sad state of things that it took misuse of the
word gypsy to teach me that it is in fact a slur. I hope for better
things, for your people and from my own.
With immense respect,
I am in shock that my words were heard and respected, and I have even more respect for such a brilliant musician and woman. Guys, go out and buy her music here. It’s a mix of pagan folk and rock and really good stuff (I suggest her most recent album), and she’s independent so all proceeds go to her, and you can listen to it before buying. It’s totally worth it to support people who take the time out to listen to others pain and can empathize.
Sooj is one of the most wonderful people I know.