NEWS

M.I.A. Dropped From London's Afropunk Festival Following Controversial Black Lives Matter Comments

by Desiree Murphy 5:16 PM PDT, July 16, 2016
Photo: Getty Images

M.I.A. will no longer be headlining the upcoming Afropunk Festival in London.

Festival organizers dropped the 40-year-old hip hop artist from their lineup following the controversial comments she made in April in regards to the Black Lives Matter movement. The music festival announced the news in an official statement posted to their website and social media accounts on Friday.

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"We are excited and honored to do our first Afropunk Festival in London and want to do it right," the message read. "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."

"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," the statement explained.

"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," the post continued. "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."

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While speaking with London's Evening Standard three months ago, M.I.A. (real name: Mathangi 'Maya' Arulpragasam) shared her opinions on the Black Lives Matter movement. Her comments received immediate backlash, causing the music festival to pull the plug on her scheduled Sept. 24 performance.

"It's interesting that in America the problem you're allowed to talk about is Black Lives Matter," she exclaimed at the time. "It's not a new thing to me -- it's what Lauryn Hill was saying in the '90s, or Public Enemy in the '80s."

"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 added. "And you cannot ask it on a song that's on Apple, you cannot ask it on an American TV program, you cannot create that tag on Twitter, Michelle Obama is not going to hump you back."

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On Thursday, the English "Paper Planes" singer seemingly addressed the cancellation.

"If you ask how I'm doing," she tweeted, "I'm fine."

She also took to Twitter last month, writing, "Sorry I'm not doin Afropunk. I've been told to stay in my lane. Ha there is no lane for 65mil refugees who's lanes are blown up! #nolanes."

ET has reached out to M.I.A.'s rep for comment.

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