UPDATED 7/15/16: M.I.A. is officially no longer headlining Afropunk's London show, which the event confirmed today. "AFROPUNK has always stood side by side with the thousands of people globally who are involved with our events each year," Afropunk's statement reads. "After discussing the situation with the artist and the community, a decision was agreed upon by all involved that M.I.A will no longer headline AFROPUNK London." They will announce a new headliner and the second wave of artists on July 19, but you can read their full statement below.
AFROPUNK has always stood side by side with the thousands of people globally who are involved with our events each year, from the fans attending an AFROPUNK showcase for the first time, to the headline artists playing for capacity crowds on our main festival stages.
A key part of the AFROPUNK ethos has always been educating one another, breaking down boundaries and sparking conversation about race, gender, religion, sex, culture and everything that makes life worth living. This exchange has meant receiving wisdom, as well as imparting it in the most respectful way possible, with the participation of our entire community of fans, creators and artists. This community is something we are incredibly proud of, and this community will always be a priority for us.
We are excited and honored to do our first AFROPUNK Festival in London and want to do it right. After discussing the situation with the artist and the community, a decision was agreed upon by all involved that M.I.A will no longer headline AFROPUNK London.
AFROPUNK will be releasing a new headliner and the second wave of artists on July 19th.
See original post below.
The inaugural Afropunk London Festival is going down on Sept. 24, but it seems like the event’s headliner has already pulled pulled out.
Not too long after the date and lineup were revealed, people began to swarm the festival’s social media accounts expressing their frustration that M.I.A. would be taking the stage. Many even threatened a boycott if the event’s organizers did not cancel the 40-year-old artist, who has been faced with a wave of backlash since making controversial comments about the Black Lives Matter movement. And it seems the criticism has pushed M.I.A. to back out of the performance.
Here’s a little background: During an interview with ES Magazine in April, the British hip-hop artist gave her thoughts on Beyoncé’s Super Bowl 50 halftime performance, as well as other artists who’ve been vocal about the instances of police brutality toward the black community. She called on those musicians to use their platform to bring attention to the difficulties facing other marginalised groups.
"It’s interesting that in America the problem you’re allowed to talk about is Black Lives Matter. It's not a new thing to me—it’s what Lauryn Hill was saying in the 1990s, or Public Enemy in the 1980s," M.I.A. told ES Magazine. "Is Beyoncé or Kendrick Lamar going to say Muslim Lives Matter? Or Syrian Lives Matter? Or this kid in Pakistan matters? That’s a more interesting question. You can't ask it on a song that’s on Apple, you cannot ask it on an American TV program, you cannot create that tag on Twitter, Michelle Obama is not going to hump you back."
Soon after the interview was published, M.I.A.’s comments were criticized for being anti-black and racist. She later attempted to clarify her words, insisting her critique was not about Beyoncé, but rather the activist platforms in America:
But people clearly didn’t accept her explanation. Since the Afropunk lineup was revealed, many people have come forth to express their frustration.
It now appears M.I.A. has heard the call for her cancelation, and has decided to not perform. She made the announcement via Twitter on Monday.
According to Pitchfork, a representative for M.I.A. says she is still confirmed to play the festival. Afropunk did not immediately respond to Complex’s request for comment.
UPDATED 6/21/16: M.I.A. has received surprising support in her decision to drop out of the festival from Azealia Banks. Banks, who is no stranger to festival controversies herself, took to Instagram—since her Twitter got suspended—to voice her opinion on the matter. "Leave M.I.A the fuck alone. You guys are idiots and have COMPLETELY missed the point of what she's trying to tell you," Banks wrote before adding that anyone who isn't on the "Aryan/Christian/Zionist world supremacy agenda" faces a common struggle. "SHES TELLING YOU THAT HER PEOPLE ARE SUFFERING JUST AS OURS ARE. LEAVE MAYA THE FUCK ALONE AND LET HER DO HER PERFORMANCE. FOR FUCKS SAKE." You can read Banks' full response below.
UPDATE 6/23/16: Afropunk has broken their silence on the matter with an official statement confirming that M.I.A. "will still perform at Afropunk London, and there is a huge amount of UK / global talent still to be announced." The festival's message goes onto say that it "stands in solidarity with the struggle of Black people in America and worldwide, and acknowledge that Black Lives Matter is indeed a declaration of a global struggle." The note also touches on Banks' statements and declares that the festival stands in solidarity with their Muslim brothers and sisters as well as the "millions of displaced human beings." You can read their full official statement below.