After M.I.A. claimed she will no longer perform at Afropunk London this September, the Black cultural festival released a statement today saying she will remain in the lineup. In a message shared on their Twitter account, the company stands by Black people around the world in each of their struggles.
“Afropunk stands in solidarity with the struggles of Black people in America and worldwide, and acknowledge that Black Lives Matter is indeed a declaration of a global struggle,” the statement begins. “Afropunk stands in solidarity with our Muslim sisters and brothers, including black Muslims.”
“Afropunk stands in solidarity with the 65 million millions [sic] of displaced human beings that are today engulfed in one of the greatest refugee crisis in modern history,” it continues. “The urgency of these struggles could not be more real, and they are intricately connected.”
The release, which highlights the connection of Black oppression globally, refers to M.I.A.’s tweets about the children of refugees who she says “will be listening to all types of music [but] not their own” because they live away from home.
20 years from now the kids of 65million will be listening to all types of music not their own because they will grow up elsewhere #nolanes
— M.I.A (@MIAuniverse) June 20, 2016
The organization did not condemn the rapper’s controversial comments about the American Black Lives Matter movement. Instead, it praised M.I.A.’s remarks for sparking a dialogue.
In April, the UK star made waves for dissing BLM as an old subject and criticized the lack of attention on Syrian and Muslim people.
The festival makes it clear it would not host a performer who contradicts their message of acceptance.
“We also know that without the community that supports our platform and our events, there would be no Afropunk, so we would never elevate an artist or performer who we considered at odds with our ethos or not supportive of those we stand beside.”
Afropunk promotes the discussion of differing opinions throughout the statement. It says it has fostered conversations to improve knowledge of the experiences of all Black people around the world, including the impact of the refugee crisis and anti-Muslim rhetoric. It also encourages supporters to take a look at the way structural racism and systemic oppression plays a role in those issues.
After making it clear M.I.A. will retain her spot in the concert, the festival upholds its message of inclusivism.
“We hope that this event also brings to light the experiences of black Brits, immigrants and refugees in the U.K., who are continuously erased.”
It also makes it known their purpose is to build up Black people, not tear them down.
See the statement in full below.
A message about AFROPUNK LONDON pic.twitter.com/Tg4YqAzMmY
— AFROPUNK (@afropunk) June 23, 2016