The issue dates back to April when the artist tweeted a controversial statements some believed to be criticizing the Black Lives Matter movement. 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."
M.I.A. later clarified that her comments, saying, "I'm not Muslim. My question was, on American platforms what do they allow you to stand up for in 2016?"
M.I.A. Defends Refugee Lives, Shares Release Dates for 'Go Off' Single & 'A.I.M.' Project
First, it seemed M.I.A. was going to cancel her own headlining performance at the inaugural Afropunk London festival due to the backlash, with some threatening to boycott if M.I.A. was not removed from the bill. She tweeted, "Sorry I'm not doin Afropunk. I've been told to stay in my lane. Ha there is no lane for 65mil refugees whose lanes are blown up!" But then Afropunk defended M.I.A. and said she would still be performing.
Now the festival has decided to change its course and will be finding an appropriate replacement, who will be announced July 19 with a second wave of artists.