The festival, set for its UK debut at London’s Alexandra Palace in September, originally stuck by the rapper, but another statement has now confirmed she won’t play Afropunk.
“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 latest statement read, according to Spin.
“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.
They added: “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.
“We are excited and honoured to do our first AFROPUNK Festival in London and want to do it right. 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.”
The Sri Lankan artist was the Brooklyn-born event’s headliner, but after widespread backlash about comments she made about Black Lives Matter and threats to boycott the festival, she tweeted last month that she wouldn’t perform: “If pulling the show saves the cause and lives then that’s what I'll do.”
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 backtracked to clarify what she meant by her comments. She wrote: “I’m not Muslim. My question was, on American platforms what do they allow you to stand up for in 2016?”
Afropunk will announce a new headliner to replace M.I.A. next Tuesday.