Afropunk London: Grace Jones replaces M.I.A.
Grace Jones will replace M.I.A. at Afropunk London’s inaugural run, organizers announced via Twitter Tuesday.
The news comes just days after M.I.A. was officially ousted from the England festival’s lineup. The exit came after a protracted discussion surrounding her controversial Black Lives Matter statements.
“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,” M.I.A. told the Evening Standard in April. “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.”
M.I.A.’s cut from the roster was long brewing. When Afropunk announced her as the headliner of its first London festival, backlash quickly bubbled up online. M.I.A. then tweeted she’d been axed from the schedule, but Afropunk insisted she’d still perform. They reversed that decision Friday.
“We are excited and honored to do our first Afropunk Festival in London and want to do it right,” organizers wrote in a statement. “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.”
Jones, who headlined the fest’s Brooklyn iteration in 2015, will now take M.I.A.’s top-billed spot. Afropunk London takes place Sept. 24. SZA, Kwabs, and MNEK are among the other artists set to perform.