M.I.A. will no longer headline Afropunk London. The Sri Lankan artist — who’s just released the “Go Off,” a single off her upcoming album, A.I.M. — tweeted back in June 20 that she was no longer doing the festival after the blowback she received following the her criticisms against the Black Lives Matter movement.
In response, Afropunk released a statement saying she was still the scheduled performer. Today’s new statement makes her exclusion official.
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.
M.I.A.’s controversial comments criticized Black Lives Matter supporters for not speaking up for other issues. “Is Beyoncé or Kendrick Lamar going to say Muslim Lives Matter?” she said in April. “Or Syrian Lives Matter? Or this kid in Pakistan matters?” British Afropunk fans threatened to boycott the festival if Afropunk didn’t find a new headliner.
Afropunk says it will announce a new headliner, along with a second wave of artists, on July 19.