Afropunk organisers have come to the defense of headliner MIA following comments she made in an interview about Black Lives Matter.
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?”
A message about AFROPUNK LONDON pic.twitter.com/Tg4YqAzMmY
— AFROPUNK (@afropunk) June 23, 2016
Dazed reported that fans have threatened to boycott the festival unless she is removed from the line-up. The organisers of Afropunk have now come to the defense of the artist, penning a statement after deciding to keep MIA in the headlining slot.
“To us, the fact that M.I.A.’s comments sparked dialogue about a global view of the Black struggle is not a failing,” they wrote. “The debate is healthy and as people who have long been silenced, we refuse to participate in silencing of other voices.”
They continued, “We hope that this event also brings to light the experiences of black Brits, immigrants and refugees in the UK, who are continuously erased.” Afropunk takes place on September 24 at Alexandra Palace in London.