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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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ICONOLOGY: Missy Elliott Dropping Collection Of New Songs Tonight

Missy Elliott has had an incredible 2019.

The superstar is not only finally receiving the Video Vanguard Award at the 2019 MTV VMAs this coming Monday (Aug. 26), the Virginia native also became the first female rapper inducted into the Songwriters Hall Of Fame and received an honorary doctorate from Berklee College Of Music. She's celebrating her standout year with her longtime fans by releasing new music.

ICONOLOGY is a collection of new songs that are meant to make the listener throw it back to the times when music made us want to move. She revealed the news on social media.

"This year has been a tremendous year for me…I am humbled and grateful," she wrote on Instagram." THANK YOU for allowing me to smell the roses. You, my fans, and God are the reason I am here and have celebrated every milestone with me!... Let’s #ThrowItBack to a time when music just felt good and made us want to dance! Sincerely, Dr. Melissa “Missy” Elliott #Iconology."

We're hoping there are some eye-popping videos to accompany these new songs. Check out her post below.

 

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This year has been a tremendous year for me…I am humbled and grateful. THANK YOU for allowing me to smell the roses. You, my fans, and God are the reason I am here and have celebrated every milestone with me! So, I have a SURPRISE for you... let’s continue the celebration at midnight tonight…I’m dropping a collection of new songs! Let’s #ThrowItBack to a time when music just felt good and made us want to dance! Sincerely, Dr. Melissa “Missy” Elliott #Iconology

A post shared by Missy Elliott (@missymisdemeanorelliott) on Aug 22, 2019 at 11:00am PDT

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Lizzo Reacts To Hillary Clinton's "Truth Hurts" Tweet

Lizzo’s “Truth Hurts” may be over two years old, but it’s proven to be her most impactful hit yet. The track gained steam after being featured in Netflix’s Someone Great, and currently sits at No. 4 on the Billboard Hot 100. It also garnered the attention of one of the biggest names in politics.

A video Lizzo posted on Twitter features Hillary Clinton and other former Presidential hopefuls standing and saluting the flag. While we may expect the National Anthem to play, “Truth Hurts” blares over the speaker instead.

Shortly after the video was posted, Hillary Clinton (or at least a very in-touch intern of hers) replied, tweeting out the song’s popular lyrics “I just took a DNA test, turns out…”

“@hillaryclinton just confirmed Truth Hurts is 100% the new national anthem... have a great day,” Lizzo wrote on Instagram.

The musician opened up about practically quitting music after “Truth Hurts” failed to take off initially.

“I remember thinking, ‘If I quit music now, nobody would notice. This is my best song ever, and nobody cares,’” she told PEOPLE. “I was like, ‘F**k it, I’m done.’ And a lot of people rallied; my producer, my publicist and my family, they were like, ‘Just keep going because this is the darkest before the dawn.'”

She also recently teased a remix to the song with DaBaby.

"I just took a DNA test, turns out..."

— Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) August 21, 2019

 

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@hillaryclinton just confirmed Truth Hurts is 100% the new national anthem... have a great day 😀

A post shared by Lizzo (@lizzobeeating) on Aug 21, 2019 at 7:29am PDT

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Drake Faces Lawsuits Over 'Nice For What' And 'In My Feelings'

A rapper by the name of Sam Skully is suing both Drake and Big Freedia for alleged use of his beat for the songs “In My Feelings” and “Nice For What.”

Per TMZ, Skully (real name Samuel Nicholas III) claims that a portion of his 2000’s song “Roll Call” was used in the popular song “In My Feelings.” He also alleges that “Nice For What,” which features Big Freedia, uses another one of his stolen beats.

“In the docs, Sam Skully claims he published the beat on a CD he released in New Orleans way back in 2000, but says he didn't know his work had been stolen until years later ... when Drake and Big Freedia released songs that started climbing the charts,” reports the site.

“Nice For What” debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 2018, as did “In My Feelings.” The latter track remained there for 10 weeks and was associated with the highly-popular “In My Feelings” challenge.

Skully is also reportedly suing Asylum Records, Cash Money Records and Republic Records for damages.

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