Weeks after M.I.A. was dropped as a headliner from Afropunk London, the festival has announced that she will be replaced by none other than the legendary Grace Jones.
Afropunk has run many successful events since debuting in Brooklyn back in 2005, but their first London foray has been plagued by controversy since they first announced M.I.A. as headliner. The Sri Lankan artist’s made some critical comments on Black Lives Matter earlier this year.
Back 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 later clarified her comments, writing, “I’m not Muslim. My question was, on American platforms what do they allow you to stand up for in 2016?”
Many threatened to boycott the festival if M.I.A. wasn’t removed. The rapper tweeted last month that she wouldn’t be performing (“If pulling the show saves the cause and lives then that’s what I’ll do”), but Afropunk maintained that she’d be playing until earlier this week, when they issued a statement saying that “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”.
The full lineup for Afropunk London, which takes place on September 24th at London’s Alexandra Palace, includes SZA, Loyle Carner, Gaika, Don Letts, and many more.
Check the full lineup here.