After initially defending her from backlash following comments on the Black Lives Matter movement, Afropunk London has officially dropped M.I.A. from a headlining slot at the inaugural festival.
In April, she tweeted the controversial statement, “It’s interesting that in America the problem you’re allowed to talk about is Black Lives Matter.” This came shortly after she asked the question, “Is Beyoncé or Kendrick Lamar going to say Muslim Lives Matter? Or Syrian Lives Matter? Or this kid in Pakistan matters?”
While she clarified that her comments weren’t a slight on the Black Lives Matter movement by saying, “I’m not Muslim. My question was, on American platforms what do they allow you to stand up for in 2016?” her opinions were met with plenty of resistance from plenty of vocal fans.
Initially, it appeared the backlash would result in M.I.A. canceling the Afropunk London appearance herself when she tweeted, “Sorry I’m not doin Afropunk. I’ve been told to stay in my lane. Ha there is no lane for 65mil refugees whose lanes are blown up!” Then Afropunk quickly defended her and said she would still play the festival.
Now, it seems they’ve changed their minds and will be finding a new headliner. 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.