Compensation for Kiiren Aamer

Kendall Greene ’24 argues that there should be higher compensation for artist and fellow student Kiiren Aamer.

Compensation for Kiiren Aamer
Kendall Greene ’24 argues that Kiiren Aamer deserves a higher payment for his upcoming performance at the Spring Concert. Photo courtesy of Kiiren Jackson ’24.

Dear President Elliott and Rachel Kremer,

We are very enthusiastic about the 2024 Spring Concert and are thrilled with the performers Destin Conrad and CupcakKe. We are even more excited about our friend Kiiren Aamer opening the concert. We are, however, disappointed about the compensation that Kiiren is receiving for his performance. Kiiren’s poor compensation is accentuated by the extreme difference in compensation between him and the other performers. While there is, of course, a difference in the price of each performance, Kiiren is a recognized artist and a student in our college who deserves to be valued. We write to request just that.

Kiiren is opening the Spring Concert for only $350. The Spring Concert is the largest event of the year on campus, and the college invests significant financial and human resources in its production. Student performers deserve prioritization and full compensation for their work. This is labor and needs to be valued as such, not as a pro-bono set. The college has the capacity to adequately pay artists and should also have the political will to recognize their creative abilities. Even if the funding was outside the Campus Activities Board budget, there are so many sources that can offer payment beyond the board, such as the Office of the President or the resource centers. Any compensation under $1,000 for a recognized musical artist on our campus is shameful.

The college is paying $30,000 to CupcakKe; Kiiren is a popular choice among students and well-liked throughout the student body. That he is receiving 1/100th of CupcakKe’s compensation is disrespectful to his craft, art, and labor. It reflects that the prioritization of funds is reproducing the undervaluing of our Black student community members. The college claims to value students’ creative development, and the college must show that in how it values their work on stage. Kiiren was making over $1,200 winning rap contests in 2022 in NYC, and now he is expected to perform a Spring Concert in front of the entire campus community, at his home institution, for pocket change.

In addition to our own standards for valuing work, we want to point out that Kiiren is a Black low-income student who has been working and studying at Amherst since the height of the pandemic. Students on this campus recognize his presence and know his work after years of self-promotion and dedication to his craft. He raps about generational trauma, coping in a white supremacist society as a young Black man, and Black joy. It is incredibly admirable.

Kiiren has a Spotify presence with consistent uploads and posts. Spotify is notorious for poorly paying their artists, and many artists are dependent on concerts and merchandise to sustain themselves. This is an opportunity for a full-time student to be adequately compensated for his creative abilities and undeniably strong stage presence. As a graduating senior, a compensation of $1,000 would allow him to invest in his future endeavors and equipment needs, such as speakers, a microphone, and the appropriate software to continue recording. A payment of $350 that barely covers the cheapest class ring at the grad fair is offensive and indicates how the college devalues the artists it claims to support.

‌‌Kiiren is well-loved on campus and deserves to be paid for who he is and the resources to excel in his craft, especially from his home institution with a multi-billion dollar endowment yet a limited investment in the creative arts. His time and effort should be recognized and reflected in his pay as a professional, creative, and joyful spirit who contributes to a thriving, creative campus community.

‌‌Value your students with more than words.


Amherst College Black Student Union. Photo courtesy of the BSU. 

Amherst College Black Student Union

Amherst College African and Caribbean Student Union. Photo courtesy of the ACSU.

Amherst College African and Caribbean Student Union

Kendall Greene ’24

Lorett Alarcon’24, President of AAS

Adam Johnson-Hill ’25, Senior Chair of the Black Student Union

Awa Diop ’26, President of the African and Caribbean Student Union

Tyra Redwood ’25, Senior Black Queer Chair

Nina Diaz ’26

Angie Camarena ’25

George Henry ’26

Guan Liang ’25

Aaron Holton ’25

Chideraaa Ngwadom ’27

Nylah Lee ’26

Teni Aina ’26

Ayo Eniola ’24

Arianna Dempsey ’27

Arissa Grace McGowan ’26

Neviah Waldron ’24

Caly van Leeuwen ’25

Anjalis De La Cruz ’24

Christian Daniels ’23

Praise Oluro ’27

Alexa Ekhelar ’25

Dorothy Nketia ’24

Tyler Fields ’25

Imani Gunnison ’24

Anayah Scott ’24

Naomi Habtu ’25

Carina Nanan ’25

Sara Maity ’27

Tiernee Pitts ’26

Logan Maniscalco ’24

Sofia Rodrigo ’24

Claire Jensen ’24

Artis Phillips ’25

Dohyeon Kim ’26

Jada Grant ’26

Morry Ajao ’26

Victoria Thomas ’25

Tanmai Pathak ’25

Alexis Gladney ’27

Kao Morakinyo ’25

Joshua De La Cruz ’26

Ashley Yuen ’25

Diego Duckenfield-Lopez ’24

Lauren Yuen ’25

Sam Kim ’26

Ashanti Adams ’24

Erik Arciniega ’25

Quincy Smith ’26

Moira Newman ’26

Revival Afolabi ’25

Makayla Boxley ’24

Mikayah Parsons ’24

Mackenzie Dunson ’25

Zane Khiry ’25

James Belgrave ’26

Ouyanatu Maina ’24

Jasmine Alexandre ’26

Dominion Femi-Jegede ’26

Jason Nuñez ’24

Anuoluwapo Daramola ’24

Amelie Justo-Sainz ’25

Vica Henry ’25

Mica Nimkarn ’24

Jaedyn Toman ’27

Jasmynh Stokes ’26

August Nascimento ’24

Isabelle Gomez ’25

Kayla Holloway ’26

Michelle Kha ’24

Karla Muñoz ’24

Avery Kimball ’24

Maristhela Alvarez ’25

Abigail Robbins ’25

Corlynn Raymond ’25

Damien Algernon ’26

Jihyun Won ’25

Jesse Brew ’26

Alexandra Trofort ’26

Jessye Salmon ’26

Valerie Rosario ’26

Dasha Asienga ’24

Ian Kamweru ’24

Uchenna Monplaisir ’27

Hannah Messaye ’27

Ebony Wamwitha ’26

Fiona Yohannes ’25

Aryen Shrestha ’24

Madison Green ’24

Arleth Rodrigues ’24

Francelia Walsh-Despeignes ’24

Max Valdez ’24

Rocío Stejskal ’23

Stanley Jackson

Lance Duncan ’24

Zac Watson ’24

Free Rabb ’25

Bela Achaibar ’25

Jordan Trice ’24

Aliyah Ibrahim ’24

Slate Taylor ’25

Maryam Abuissa ’24

Annika Bajaj ’25

Siobhán Angeles’24

Erxi Lu ’24

Dakota Costa ’27

Claire Holding ’26

Jaden Garrett ’25

Sukanya Richards ’27

Jadyn Newby ’27

Olivia Berry ’27

Liam Johnson-Hill ’27

Kimmie Nguyen ’27

Sidney Essandoh ’27

Kei Lim ‘25

Agustina Gonzalez ’24

Fayobomi Olusola-Falodun ’24

Willow Delp ’26

Karim Barett ’25

Mel Arthur ’25

Madeline Hahm ’24E

Jabez Ward ’24

Jesús Ramírez Tapia ’25 Senator

A’Cora Hickson ’25

Corri Hickson ’25

Isa Taha-Stern ’25

Abadai Zoboi ’24

Kobe Thompson ’24

Nicholas Torres’25

Laura Almeida ’25

Patrick Smith Jr. ’25

Jasmine Grossman ’24

Sonia Chajet Wides ’25

Michelle Le ’24

Nat Edmonds ’24

Kaetu Wleh ’23

Tiia McKinney ’25

Annika Baldwin ’24

Jinae Hong ’25

Sarah Quiros ’24

Sydney Wisher ’24

Michelle Ofosu-Morrison ’26

Avery Cook ’26

Jay Lassiter ’24

Maigan Lafontant ’27

Iryna Sobchyshyna ’24

Isabel Sanchez ’26

Adetola Makun ’26

Kamil Mouehla ’26

Gabriel Mercedes ’25

Min Ji Kim’25

Gillian Richard ’24

Shane Dillon ’26 AAS Vice President

Melani Garcia ’25

Shailaija Campbell ’25

Muskaan Bhansali ’26

Jaimie Han ’26 AAS Judiciary Council Chair

Phillip Zhou ’24 Senator

Seb Pollock ’27 Senator

Rizwan Ayub ’27 Senator

Emily Kim ’25

Phuong Doan ’26 Senator

Ari Dengler ’24

Noah Turbes ’27

Ayres Warren ’26

Laith Bahlouli ’25 Senator

Eugena Chang ’24 Senator

Sofia Salazar ’27 Senator

Gent Malushaga ’25, President-Elect of AAS

Catherine Carpio ’24

Stacey Zhang ’26

Evan Kangi ’24

Alysa Yabe ’25