ORLANDO, Fla. - Some students at the University of Central Florida are upset after hearing a well-known rapper will be headlining their Welcome Week concert.
The artist is B.o.B who had award-winning hits in the early 2010s like "Airplanes" and "Nothin’ on You," but in 2016, he released a track that featured conspiracy theories and anti-Semitic views. Members of UCF’s Jewish community brought the story to our attention in hopes of something being done.
"My friends and I are appalled," said sophomore Noah Galper. "Not only about him, but the fact that our school provided this man a platform."
B.o.B is one of two headliners at "Concert Knight" on August 25, during UCF’s Pegasus Palooza.
"Pegasus Palooza is supposed to be an event that helps returning students and new students become acclimated and show them what UCF is about. Our culture and who we are as Knights," said Galper. "As a community and as an institution, do we really want to show our students that we support people that spread hate?"
B.o.B’s 2016 track "Flatline" pushed conspiracies of a flat earth. It also contained lyrics that told people to do their research on known Holocaust denier David Irving. He also said Stalin was worse than Hitler and insinuated that Jewish people run the government. Those lyrics were denounced by the Anti-Defamation League that same year.
"It’s completely incomprehensible to me that you can’t do a basic Google search before you select an artist that’s going to be headlining for a concert at a school where 10% of your students are Jewish," said junior Milo Gilad.
Another member of UCF’s Jewish community, Hannah Schorr, was initially excited that B.o.B was coming until she learned more about his beliefs.
"We don’t need this performance. We don’t need him here. There’s another wonderful performer Bee Miller will be there and there’s a slew of other wonderful events," said Schorr.
The students say they understand a decision to cancel B.o.B’s performance is more complicated than it appears. Although for students like Galper, whose grandfather was imprisoned at Auschwitz at just 19 years old, he believes B.o.B’s words affect far more than just the Jewish community.
"This is a real person and this is only a small example of the millions of people that were persecuted for who they are and what they believe," said Galper. "Murdered, abused, and tormented just because of who they are."
FOX35 reached out to UCF for comment on this. They are reviewing our request, and we did not hear back from them at the time this story was published.