Grace Jones afropunk

Afropunk London festival replaces MIA with Grace Jones

After some back and forth, MIA has officially been dropped as the headline act for Afropunk festival London. The festival, which launched in Brooklyn in 2005, is set to take place in the UK for the first time at London’s Alexandra Palace on September 24. However, when it was announced that MIA would serve as the headline act, the news was met with mixed reactions.

The backlash mainly stems from comments she made believed to be criticising the Black Lives Matter movement in April. She asked, “Is Beyoncé or Kendrick Lamar going to say Muslim Lives Matter? Or Syrian Lives Matter? Or this kid in Pakistan matters?” And, “It’s interesting that in America the problem you’re allowed to talk about is Black Lives Matter.”

MIA later clarified her comments, denying that she was trying to attack the Black Lives Matter movement. “I’m not Muslim,” she wrote. “My question was, on American platforms what do they allow you to stand up for in 2016?”

But now, in a statement, the festival organisers said, “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.”

UPDATE: AFROPUNK has announced that Grace Jones will replace MIA as their headline act. The festival organisers also shared a new wave of acts added to the line-up, including Laura Mvula, Kwabs, MNEK, Loyle Carner, Akala, Goldlink, Lady Leshurr and more.


AFROPUNK takes place September 24 for the first time in London at Alexandra Palace. To purchase tickets, please click here.