Afropunks of London: you can all finally breathe a sigh of relief. The undeniably phenomenal Grace Jones is the new headliner of the very first Afropunk London festival this September. First launched 13 years ago in Brooklyn to celebrate black punk culture, the revered fest planned to give M.I.A top billing when the initial line-up for the London edition was announced in June. But what organisers probably didn’t expect was a barrage of criticism and boycott threats from fans: they took offence to controversial comments the Sri Lankan singer made about the Black Lives Matter movement in an interview with ES Magazine in April.
Even though she clarified her comments, then threatened to quit the gig on Twitter, the festival's team defended choosing M.I.A in a statement, and it looked like she was staying put. But now they've only gone and put out ANOTHER statement saying she’s been dropped from the bill because frankly, the uproar from the community was too hard to ignore. 'This community is something we are incredibly proud of, and this community will always be a priority for us,' the statements reads.
Well, better late than never. Organisers have saved face calling on Miss Jones, who played a storming set at the Brooklyn festival in 2015. And the rest of the revamped line-up ain’t looking too shabby either. It now includes the likes of Laura Mvula, The Noisettes, MNEK, Kwabs and Lady Leshurr. Nice. But let's just hope between now and September nobody pisses off anyone else (although with a lady like Grace Jones, we should be so lucky...).
Afropunk London takes place at Alexandra Palace on September 24 and you can find out all about it here: afropunkfest.com/london.
Remember when Grace Jones nearly broke the internet last year? Check out her book extract where she throws shade at Rihanna, Miley, Gaga and Kanye.