M.I.A. Responds To Backlash Over Her Selection To Headline Afropunk London Festival


(AllHipHop News) Some potential concert goers are not pleased with the decision to have M.I.A. headline Afropunk's first London event.

The festival's organizers and the British rapper/singer found themselves facing backlash over M.I.A.'s statements about the Black Lives Matter movement.

Back in April, the "Paper Planes" performer questioned why some high-profile artists such as Kendrick Lamar and Beyoncé were willing to address issues such as police brutality in America but have not come out forcibly against Islamophobia or U.S. military action in the Middle East.

“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,” said M.I.A. “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."

Some Twitter users believed those comments were akin to an "All Lives Matter" response to BLM and should disqualify M.I.A. from headlining a festival that was originally created to showcase "alternative black culture."

M.I.A. took to her own Twitter account to respond to the criticism. She posted, "If pulling the show saves the cause and lives then that's what I'll do."

In another now deleted tweet, M.I.A mentioned that Afropunk founder Matthew Morgan was "mixed Black and Israeli." That also brought negative responses as people began wondering why she felt the need to bring up Morgan's race and ethnicity (his father is Guyanese, his mother is Russian/Polish/Jewish). In addition, some observers complained that it appeared she was belittling Afropunk by stating "the festival pays me less then [sic] any festival I've done in the past." M.I.A. does have a supporter in Azealia Banks. The Harlem rhymer wrote on her Instagram page:

Leave M.I.A the f-ck alone. You guys are idiots and have COMPLETELY missed the point of what she's trying to tell you. THIS IS A BLACK PERSON. SriLankans/Indians are BLACK. U guys keep for getting that black is not something we share as an ethnicity it's something we share as a GLOBAL STRUGGLE. Everything/Everyone that is on the opposite side of the Aryan/Christian/Zionist world supremacy agenda has been marked as BLACK. And has been marked FOR DEATH. This includes, Africans, Indians, African Americans, Arabs, Muslims, south East Asians, aboriginal people, ETC. you motherf-ckers DONT GET IT. m.I.a is trying to explain this deeply complex idea to you all with examples of current events but the LIBERAL MEDIA has its d-ck so far down you sheeples throats that you can't even understand what she's saying. SHES TELLING YOU THAT HER PEOPLE ARE SUFFERING JUST AS OURS ARE. LEAVE MAYA THE F-CK ALONE AND LET HER DO HER PERFORMANCE. FOR F-CKS SAKE

Afropunk London organizers have yet to publicly comment about the controversy. However, Morgan has spoken about his vision for the festival in prior interviews.

"I remember sitting down with [former president of Live Nation New York] Bruce Moran many years ago. We were looking for perhaps a partner in Live Nation, perhaps support, someone that might give us access to acts and venues. I gave it my best shot, and after an hour and 15 minutes, he sat back in his chair and asked me, 'why black people? Why a black audience?'" Morgan told Billboard in 2015. "And I said, 'Well, you do not promote to us, because your assumption is our community isn't going to buy a ticket.'"