Afropunk Festival Organizer Defends M.I.A. And Keeps Her As Headliner
Thu, 23 Jun 2016 10:50:38
"AFROPUNK stands in solidarity with the struggles of Black people in America and worldwide, and acknowledge that Black Lives Matter is indeed a declaration of global struggle. AFROPUNK stands in solidarity with out Muslim sisters and brothers, including black Muslims. AFROPUNK stands in solidarity with the 65 million millions of displaced human beings that are today engulfed in one of the greatest refugee crisis in modern history. The urgency of these struggles could not be more real, and they are intricately connected. AFROPUNK is more than an event,it is a community, and we are committed to building a space where we can connect around music and the arts, and also in dialogue, to challenge and educate one another."
"To us, the fact that M.I.A.'s comments sparked dialogue about a global view of the Black struggle is not a failing." The statement later adds, "We've read and welcomed the critique of M.I.A.'s participation. Even prior to our announcement, we had been creating a space to continue the dialogue she initiated, to better explain and understand how the Black American experience and the American construct of race, intersect with rampant anti-Muslim rhetoric, and the crushing refugee crisis she was bringing to light. The debate is healthy and as people who have long been silenced, we refuse to participate in silencing of other voices."
Read the entire letter on AFROPUNK's Twitter.
The controversy began when Richard Godwin interviewed M.I.A. back in April in a feature published by London's Evening Standard, where M.I.A. replied to the question of "what she made of this year's Super Bowl, in which Beyoncé gave a Black Power salute to the Black Lives Matter movement." Arulpragasam replied, "It's interesting that in America the problem you're allowed to talk about is Black Lives Matter. It's not a new thing to me — it's what Lauryn Hill was saying in the 1990s, or Public Enemy in the 1980s. 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. And you cannot ask it on a song that's on Apple, you cannot ask it on an American TV programme, you cannot create that tag on Twitter, Michelle Obama is not going to hump you back."
For more on M.I.A., check out:
—The ARTISTdirect Staff