Rapper Talib Kweli has canceled a performance at a Kansas City music venue after the booked a Scandinavian accused of being Nazi sympathizers. According to the Kansas City Star, Kweli on Feb 20th told the management of the Riot Room that he would not be performing the following day after he learned that the venue had also booked the band Taake for a March 31st show.
Kweli released a statement on Tuesday that said: “I find it appalling that the Riot Room refuses to apologize for booking this band. I wouldn’t feel safe bringing my team, family and fans into a venue that is sympathetic to white nationalism, so I’ve canceled the show.”
Taake, a Norwegian black metal band, has been criticized on numerous occasions for its use of Nazi iconography in its live performances and for what has been perceived to be anti-Islamic lyrics. In February, purported anti-fascist groups took to Twitter for the band to call off their North American tour, which is due to begin 24th in New York City.
So far, the calls for cancellation have been partially successful and at least two shows — March 24th at Le Poisson Rouge in New York, and the Bottom Lounge in Chicago — have been canceled.
On February 18th, Taake’s frontman Ørjan ‘Hoest’ Stedjeberg released a statement addressing the cancellations and claiming the band’s past displays of swastikas were for shock value and not an ideological statement:
“I have clearly explained many times throughout the years that me wearing a swastika once at a German concert was not at all meant to show support for the nazi (sic) ideology. It was all about doing something extreme for the sake of it, which certainly backfired. But it has now been 11 years and the band has even performed in Israel! Anyway, similar incidents have not happened in Taake’s 25 year long career and will obviously not happen again. But certain parties seem to find this cold case unforgivable nevertheless, insisting on wilful (sic) misunderstanding. So, once and for all, Taake is not a racist band. Never has been, never will be. Still claiming so is as ridiculous and unfounded as are the attempts at sabotaging our highly anticipated shows.”
Update: The Riot Room has now announced that they had also canceled Taake’s performance.
“We have decided to cancel the Taake event scheduled to be held March 31st at The Riot Room. Refunds will be processed immediately for anyone who purchased ickets. As a venue, it is our priority to provide a safe, inclusive, and enjoyable environment for all patrons, artists, and staff. This always has, and will always continue to be our primary goal,” a rep for the venue said in a statement published on their social media.