The festival faced a backlash due to comments the rapper had made about Black Lives Matter
MIA has officially been dropped from the Afropunk London line-up.
The festival, which launched in Brooklyn in 2005, is set to take place in the UK for the first time when it sets up camp at London’s Alexandra Palace on September 24.
The Sri Lankan rapper was due to headline the event, but tweeted last month that she would no longer be performing following criticism from those offended by comments she had previously made about the Black Lives Matter movement.
In April, she told ES Magazine: “It’s interesting that in America the problem you’re allowed to talk about is Black Lives Matter. 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.”
She latter clarified those comments, denying that she was trying to attack the Black Lives Matter movement. “I’m not Muslim,” she wrote. “My question was, on American platforms what do they allow you to stand up for in 2016?”
Some fans threatened to boycott the festival due to her comments. MIA later tweeted: “If pulling the show saves the cause and lives then that’s what I’ll do.”
Festival organisers originally released a statement defending the rapper and saying she was still a part of the line-up. Now, they have put out another statement confirming that she will not play Afropunk.
“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,” read the latest statement, as Spin reports.
It continued: “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.”
A replacement headliner is to be announced.