Minneapolis music venue and eatery Icehouse issued an apology Monday night, after taking heat over the weekend for canceling a Latinx community dance party last-minute to instead host a more lucrative corporate booking.
The higher-paying gig, it turned out, was the official after-party for comedian Dave Chappelle's Xcel Energy Center performance on Saturday.
"We hear you," Icehouse management said in its social medial posts. "We are sorry and particularly understand the optics of having done this during Latinx Heritage Month."
An eclectic, multifaceted facility on Nicollet Avenue that books jazz, electronic, acoustic and indie-rock acts — and the occasional comedy show, like a five-night run by Chappelle in 2017 — Icehouse was supposed to host another Noche Chingona party on Saturday, an event it has welcomed before.
The dance parties are helmed by DJ TaliaKnight and queenDuin, whose mission statement says it "centers and highlights Latinx music and culture" and "is to empower and create a safe [space] for women and queer people." The word "Chingona" is Spanish slang for "aggressive" or "pushy" women.
In social-media posts that went up Saturday, TaliaKnight and queenDuin complained of the cancellation being made on such short notice.
"They chose a corporate buyout over our show and just let us know this morning," the DJs wrote. "We had absolutely no control or say in this decision. We are deeply saddened and upset that this happened."
Further blowback erupted by others on social media once it became clear the cancellation was made to host Chappelle's party. The comedian faced widespread criticism in 2021 for hurtful comments he made about transgender people in a Netflix TV special — a controversy that continued into 2022, when First Avenue canceled a Chappelle performance because of the hubbub.
"They've lost all credibility as a reliable venue and a safe space for marginalized people," one commenter posted of Icehouse on Instagram.
In its apology Monday, Icehouse's management offered a candid excuse for its decision to take the Chappelle booking on short notice: It needed the money.
"As with many music venues around the country, revenue is still not back from COVID and finances continue to be a nightmarish struggle," the Icehouse team wrote.
"So, the decision was made to accept a private party booking in order to keep the lights on and for that reason only. The private bookings (weddings, corporate events) is what allows venues to sustain themselves and continue diverse local programming."
Icehouse's team claimed to offer compensation for the cancellation and an alternative venue to host the party, and it pledged a desire to continue working with the Noche Chingona crew.
The venue's representatives reiterated their apology at the end of their post: "Sadly this booking was at the expense of Noche Chingona and their community of artists and audience, and for that we are deeply sorry."
The Noche Chingona team is reportedly working on a makeup plan for Saturday's party, which was timed to Latinx Heritage Month (September) and was also supposed to feature rapper Maria Isa — aka Minnesota Rep. Maria Isa Pérez-Vega, DFL-St. Paul.