After a back and forth over rapper M.I.A.’s involvement in the inaugural Afropunk Fest in London this September, the artist and concert promoters have decided she will no longer headline. The cultural festival released a statement on its social media accounts July 15 announcing the change.
“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,” the statement read in part.
The concert will reveal the replacement headliner along with more acts performing at the Sept. 24 show at Alexandra Palace July 19.
Afropunk’s decision was celebrated online.
A Facebook user by the name Camille Karma-Style didn’t think M.I.A. performing would have been a wise decision, referring to the recent deaths of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile by police.
Instagram user @kingqc84 called the rapper a “vulture in sheep’s clothing” and called Afropunk’s initial backing of the performer a “smokescreen answer.”
@henaasharaf thought M.I.A. had no business ever being part of the show.
@afropunk wow. Your London fest has been a huge mess. She should've never been a headliner in the first place
— HXA (@henaashraf) July 16, 2016
News of M.I.A.’s departure comes nearly one month after she announced on Twitter she would no longer be a part of the lineup. That news was not confirmed by the show promoters or her representatives.
Days later, Afropunk announced the MC would stay on as a performer. At the time she was praised for “sparking a dialogue about the global Black struggle.” The festival released a lengthy statement saying they would “never elevate an artist or performer who we considered at odds with our ethos or not supportive of those we stand beside.”
It seems the perspective on the rapper has now changed in the direction of concert-goers who initially balked at the idea of the star headlining the culturally accepting show. Atlanta Black Star reports backlash was swift when M.I.A. was touted as the main act. Fans pointed to her comments in April where she dissed Black Lives Matter.
“Is Beyoncé or Kendrick Lamar going to say Muslim Lives Matter? Or Syrian Lives Matter? Or this kid in Pakistan matters?” she told the Evening Standard. “That’s a more interesting question.”