In one month and ten days, the D.C. Council will hold a hearing about a proposed bill that would fully repeal Initiative 77.
The ballot measure, which D.C. voters approved in June, phases out the tipped minimum wage in eight increments until it reaches $15 in 2025. Starting in 2026, there would no longer be a tip credit in D.C. All workers will be paid the same minimum wage directly from their employer.
Supporters of the ballot measure are frustrated that the Council is seeking to kill the initiative that voters passed. One such supporter, Kato Kane, released a rap song today titled “Wages.”
Kane is affiliated with Restaurant Opportunities Center United (ROC), the organization that got Initiative 77 on the ballot by collecting the required amount of signatures. On Facebook, Kane says she is a D.C. native who has worked in restaurants for 15 years.
The lyrics, posted on the ROC Facebook page, hit many of the organization’s talking points leading up to the election, including that minorities and women are hurt most by the two-tier wage system that currently allows D.C. employers to pay tipped workers a lower base wage of $3.89. (If tips don’t carry a worker’s wages over the standard minimum wage, the employer is required to make up the difference.)
The video, an Audio Desperado Production, was directed and produced by Ephraim Colbert, according to Facebook. The lyrics are as follows:
Say that I got voter rights but take away my vote right No more shoo shoo so pardon me I’m tired of being picked like a lotteryForced to conform to slavery for $3.33 and I’m tired of it
Don’t uh ooh the people you started itWe gonna raise up so come follow meGlad my job had a health plan come andTake a ride in the mamo van
After emancipation tipping a legacy of slavery2 or 3 jobs just to make itThat ain’t even paycheck to paycheckTips are a bonus not a base fair
I got 7 states to say thatI deserve the freedom to budgetTalking professional wagesOnly the strong survive but what aboutThe weak and deprived
I’m a triple minority running thru fire I’m galahEvery time I rap I always talk it to the peopleMy opponent don’t stand a chanceOnce the crowd knows we are equal
I’m tired of the racial hateI’m tired of the gender decreaseFiled claims for sexual harassment is 5x higher in this industry
70% of workers in the restaurant are women and people of colorAnd I brought some friends with me we gone call themThe Section 8 mob
You think that you funnyI ain’t gone believe in what you screamingI can see it’s all about the moneyMy goal is to turn this nation and all aroundThe world to blue and blackR. O. C. up in here