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People Are Upset M.I.A Is Headlining Afropunk London Because Of Her "Anti-Black" Comments

The international festival declined to comment but said they will "address questions in their own way, in their own time".

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The festival, which launched in the US 13 years ago, describes itself as being about "education, political awareness and self-empowerment".

"Respect, breaking down stereotypes, and celebrating individuality are key to the AFROPUNK ethos, and it’s a ‘safe space / no hate’ zone for creativity," a press release states.

"London’s first edition will welcome souls from all cultures and backgrounds for a day of positive energy and next-level entertainment," it added.

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But some fans were not pleased as M.I.A, real name Mathangi 'Maya' Arulpragasam, had recently made comments many said were "anti-black" and "disrespected" the Black Lives Matter movement.

The comments were made during an interview with the Evening Standard in April, in which the rapper complained that Black Lives Matter is the only problem discussed in the US.

M.I.A., a Tamil human rights activist, also called on celebrities, such as Beyoncé and Kendrick Lamar, to highlight the plight of other marginalised groups, such as Syrians.

"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 said.

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

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Following Afropunk's decision to make M.I.A their headliner, people have called for her to be removed from the lineup, with some even considering starting a petition after feeling "let down and confused".

LOL at MIA headlining Afropunk. Isn't Afropunk a celebration of alternative Africancentricity ?

So...M.I.A is headlining Afro Punk London.

Some people predicted a boycott of the event.

- @afropunk You'll have a serious boycott of the London event if @MIAuniverse preforms, no apologies. no concessions. — No MIA @ #AfroPunk

So MIA will be headlining the Afropunk festival in London, while there are so many excellent Black British performers?! No thanks.

Afropunk London organisers declined to comment when approached by BuzzFeed News over the reaction to M.I.A's inclusion.

Tobi Oredein, the editor of black British London-based magazine Black Ballad, said MIA shouldn't be performing at the Afropunk festival in a comment piece published on Wednesday.

"...When you play by the rules of getting paid to be at a festival that celebrates black culture, after having purposely disrespected black struggles, we need to have a serious conversation," she said.

Oredein also told BuzzFeed News that Afropunk's lack of response feels as though organisers "do not see the concerns of its UK fans as a priority".

"I hope that's not the case," she said. "But people are outraged by the decision, so at the very least, Afropunk could respond and explain why MIA is a suitable choice."

Speaking to BuzzFeed News, a spokesperson for Afropunk London said: "AFROPUNK team will address questions in their own way, in their own time."

BuzzFeed News also understands that organisers are "very upset" by the public's reaction.

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