“Low” (2007), “Right Round” (2009), “Good Feeling” (2011). Most people can recognize the melody or lyrics of these songs even if they may not attribute them to Flo Rida. At first glance, Flo Rida being selected for Spring Fling seems like an ideal choice: easily recognizable songs that match the energy and spectacle that Tufts tries to achieve at Spring Fling — a day filled with live music and energetic Tufts students celebrating in order to forget the looming threat of finals season. However, underneath the seemingly harmless surface of Flo Rida lies a more ominous truth.
Before I get to the overtly concerning and disturbing aspects of Flo Rida, whose actual name is Tramar Dillard, it is first important to address the fact that this year Tufts chose to bring in an artist whose last studio album was released in 2012 and whose last EP was released in 2015. For reference, Obama was still the president, Malcolm Butler’s interception won the Patriots the Super Bowl, “Star Wars: The Force Awakens“ was released in theaters and I was in fifth grade. Because this is only the second Spring Fling in four years, it is understandable that the organizers want a glorious return to the Spring Flings of pre-COVID-19 times; however, I do not think that Flo Rida is nearly contemporary enough to be relevant in today’s music scene. While I can recognize the infectious appeal of some songs, I am dissatisfied with the dated choice of the artist.
Another relatively minor gripe is the fact that Tufts’ Spring Fling is by no means unique this year. Before the Spring Fling announcement dropped on March 29, Boston College publicized the fact that Flo Rida would perform at their “Marathon Monday” festivities a week earlier. So not only do we have a dated artist with a concerning past, but we also have him the same year he performs at Boston College. Flo Rida is not nearly strong enough as an artist to make it worthwhile for Tufts to play second fiddle to Boston College.
The main issue with Flo Rida playing at Spring Fling is that Tufts is bringing in an artist who is very problematic and has faced multiple scandals. Tabloids like The Daily Mail and The New York Post have frequently reported Flo Rida’s alleged neglect of his son, who has a rare neurological disorder called hydrocephalus. In 2018, the mother of his son, Alexis Adams, won a court case mandating monthly child support payments.
Recently, his son tragically fell from a fifth-floor window and was in intensive care. Flo Rida put out a brief statement on Instagram thanking his fans for their support following the tragic accident, but according to Adams, he is not willing to pay for the medical care his son needs after the incident. This is not to say he can’t afford it — the artist recently won an $82 million lawsuit against the popular drink company Celsius.
As the campus gears up for Spring Fling, there is no doubt that it will be a fun time regardless of the headliner. However, before the stage is even assembled on the Academic Quad, it is important to consider what artist you want Tufts to endorse financially and with a headline spot. What is the goal of Spring Fling? Is it to pick an artist with throwback songs that everyone knows or to make a statement about what kind of behavior is appropriate in the music industry? There are certainly artists that combine both traits, but unfortunately, Flo Rida isn’t one of them.