MIA hits out at those criticising Afropunk Festival organisers’ decision to book her

The rapper will headline the first UK edition of the event in September

MIA has responded to those asking for Afropunk Festival organisers to pull her headline slot.

There has been a backlash online against her booking 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?”

Now, as Dazed reports, fans have threatened to boycott the festival unless she is removed from the line-up.

One reddit user called her booking “a slap in the face to black people everywhere”. They continued: “After what she said she shouldn’t be getting any kind of business from any pro-black venues, and she she shouldn’t be a headlining act regardless. Was Afropunk sold to a white company recently or something?”

MIA tweeted about the backlash, saying her words had been twisted. “When I stand for people from all over the world – it’s hard to say if anyone is more important then the other. Surly equality is key,” she wrote.

She continued: “Accusing me of racism is no better then being accused of terrorism – yet the number of people killed by Americans stamped wars continue.

“If pulling the show saves the cause and lives then that’s what I’ll do.”