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Afropunk Leadership And Affiliates Publicize Accounts Of Festival's Abuse

Afropunk Festival remains in hot water after verbal, financial and physical abuse allegations.

Shortly after its 18th annual festival in Brooklyn's Commodore Barry Park, Afropunk was placed under a microscope after attendees complained of being unfairly ejected from the festival for exercising their right to free speech. A couple was reportedly forcedly removed from the park for donning a DIY shirt that read, "Afropunk sold out for white consumption."

The festival released a statement after being hit with backlash, but the next day, AfroPunk's Editor-in-Chief of its digital platform, Lou Constant-Desportes resigned, accusing the outwardly pro-black entity of underpaying staff, exploiting culture, gaslighting and disrespect.

“When the editorial content was too ‘radical’ or unapologetic for their taste, we were asked to tone it down, our independence was compromised,” he said at the time. “I resisted the best I could and repeatedly fought against, called out unethical behaviors and decisions internally when I saw them, to the point where I was being considered inconvenient and negative by management. Meanwhile, they were using radical imagery, slogans and intersectional mottos to market their events. Performative activism offered to sponsors as ways to promote their products. Elitism under the guise of ‘Black excellence.’"

Now, two months after the blowback, more accounts are coming forward on the toxic work environment some staff members, vendors, associates and artists endured while dealing with the company.

 

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A statement from AFROPUNK.

A post shared by AFROPUNK (@afropunk) on

According to a new, extensive blog post on The Rad Voice, 11 anonymous and named individuals came forward with statements of varying degrees of alleged mistreatment and generally "harmful" behaviors.

"Afropunk has not practiced the very teachings that catalyzed and sustained their movement. Our bodies and freedoms have been intimidated, our creativity stolen and our voices silenced for 'consumption,'" said photographer Mambu Bayoh, who details a physical encounter. "Many people were dealt with violently including myself, at the hands of Matthew Morgan, Jocelyn Cooper and their 1-10 silent partners and owners. In 2015, after Afropunk Brooklyn, I confronted Matthew Morgan regarding the use of my work without my permission. We agreed he and the company would no longer do that. In 2016, I returned to take photographs. Morgan instructed the security hold me down. He walked up to me, dug his hands in my pockets and took my photo memory card from me. Then he forcibly and physically kicked me out of the festival, with the muscle of his security." Additionally, Bayoh filed a lawsuit against the festival for using his work without permission.

Kendall S., a former Afropunk intern, said that, "During a design meeting, Matthew [Morgan] told the graphic design interns to make the marketing materials more 'accessible.' He told us to put more white people on them to attract them to Afropunk. His reasoning was that American Blacks don’t have any money, therefore it was a waste of time to market to them."

Head here to read all of the complaints against the expanding festival—Afropunk has gone on to set up shop in London, Atlanta, Paris and Johannesburg—in full.

READ MORE: AfroPunk EIC Announces Resignation, Raises Accusations Of Gaslighting And Underpaid Staff

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Report: Ariana Grande Got Paid Twice As Much As Beyoncé For Coachella

Update: 12:42 pm ET (April 19, 2019) - There are conflicting reports regarding the earnings that Beyonce obtained for her Coachella performance. According to The Blast's sources, the singer received approximately the same amount as Ariana Grande.

This story is developing.

Original story below...

As fans continue to marvel at Beyonce's historical Coachella performance in the Netflix documentary, Homecoming, a new report about the pay discrepancy amongst the festival's headliners is also grabbing people's attention. According to Variety, Ariana Grande got paid double of what Bey earned for her performance.

Grande reportedly made $8 million from the festival, while Beyoncé only took home an estimated $3 to $4 million.

This certainly seems a little odd to fans due to a handful of reasons. For one, Beyoncé is a much more seasoned artist. Additionally, her headlining show, also known as BeyChella, was a historical moment that drew millions of viewers.

Grande also made history this year as the youngest artist to ever headline the three-day event, but the U.S. pay gap may have more to do with the huge difference between their paychecks. Black women make approximately 65 cents to every dollar earned by their white male counterparts. By contrast, white women earn 83 cents to every dollar earned by white men, according to the Pew Research Center.

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Snoop Dogg, Wiz Khalifa, And More Join Lil Dicky's Animated "Earth" Music Video

Lil Dicky enlisted a wide range of A-list celebrities for his animated video 'Earth,' which aims to celebrate our home just time for Earth Day (April 22).

Rappers Snoop Dogg, Lil Yachty, Tory Lanez and Wiz Khalifa as well as John Legend, Kevin Hart, Lil Jon, Miguel and Bad Bunny voice different wild animals in the seven-minute visual, which dropped on Friday (April 19). Other voices include Justin Bieber, Ariana Grande, and Leonardo DiCaprio, among several others.

The track was originally supposed to be about animals, however Lil Dicky realized he wanted to use the track to raise awareness about climate change and environmentalism.

"As I started thinking about my song, I thought, 'It’s probably a good thing that all the profits that come from this song go to charities involved in saving the environment,'" he explained to Rolling Stone. "It was always in my head that this was going to be something that helped raise money for environmental issues, but I didn’t really know the facts. I looked into it and was blown away."

Dicky says that he was working on the song for about two-and-a-half years before it was released. It's quintessential Lil Dicky, but it's also informative.

Watch the video above.

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Erika Goldring

Remy Ma Under Police Investigation Over Irving Plaza Attack

Remy Ma is reportedly under investigation in New York over her involvement in an alleged attack that took place backstage at Irving Plaza, TMZ reports.

Remy Ma was scheduled to perform at the event alongside Fat Joe. Things apparently took a wrong turn in the backstage area, however. Love & Hip Hop star Brittney Taylor claims Remy Ma punched her in the right eye Tuesday night (April 16) during the Pretty Lou Benefit Concert at the concert venue. She reportedly went to the hospital for treatment before filing a police report.

According to law enforcement, Brittney alleges and Rey "exchanged words" in the greenroom relating to an attack on Remy's stepdaughter, Dejanae, that occurred weeks ago. The State of the Culture host allegedly accused Taylor of knowing about the attack. That's when Remy allegedly threw the first punch.

Taylor shared a photo of her black eye on Instagram after the incident. "So, here am I on my way to a very important meeting and it’s hard to even focus because of what occurred last night," she said. " I didn’t wanna bring it to social media because It's pretty embarrassing and not a good look tbh. I tried my best to cover it up with makeup and move on but that still didn’t work. My Question is @remyma why did you really do this?"

Taylor and Rem have a history of beef on the VH1 reality show. Remy is currently on parole following a 2007 attempted murder charge. No arrests have been made, and no new charges have been filed.

 

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So, here am I on my way to a very important meeting and it’s hard to even focus because of what occurred last night. I didn’t wanna bring it to social media because Its pretty embarrassing and not a good look tbh. I tried my best to cover it up with make up and move on but that still didn’t work. My Question is @remyma why did you really do this? #WHATHAPPENEDTOWOMANEMPOWERMENT #BlackLove? Smh 🤦🏾‍♀️

A post shared by Bri 🐰 (@brittneyftaylor) on Apr 17, 2019 at 2:13pm PDT

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