Controversy was sparked after Afropunk announced that M.I.A. would be one of the festival's headliners this year, as the public strongly disagreed with the artist's remarks regarding the Black Lives Matter movement.
“It’s interesting that in America the problem you’re allowed to talk about is Black Lives Matter,” M.I.A. declared to ES Magazine. “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.”
After it was expressed by her representatives that M.I.A. would still perform, Afropunk shared a statement saying she was welcome: “This controversy has opened the door for these critical conversations that need to make us all better informed…The debate is healthy and as people who have long been silenced, we refuse to participate in silence of other voices.”
Now the festival seems to have had a change of heart, saying via a new statement that M.I.A. will be replaced: “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… 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 is set to take place on September 24 at Alexandra Palace in London while M.I.A. has her forthcoming album, which has also been stated will be her last, due to be released on September 9th. Listen to her collaboration with Skrillex titled 'Get Off' before the album's release.