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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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Scott Gries

Whitney Houston’s Hologram Gears Up For European Tour

Whitney Houston’s hologram is hitting the road for a European tour, eight years after the music legend's death. Earlier in the week, Houston's hologram popped up on the British TV show This Morning to perform “The Greatest Love Of All” and fans are already shuttering at the teaser of what the show will look like.

Video of the performance has been circulating the internet and appears to show a grainy ghost-like holographic droid belting out one of Houston’s best known hits.

Whitney Houston’s Hologram video pic.twitter.com/Lfwh00U7ue

— WHITNEY HOUSTON daily (@AllAboutWhitney) February 19, 2020

The production is a collaboration with BASE Hologram and features dance routines from choreographer Fatima Robinson.

Houston’s sister-in-law and former manager, Pat Houston, asserts that the tour will be exactly as the late music legend would have envisioned. “Now is just the right time,” Pat told the Associated Press. “In the spirt of Whitney, I know we’re doing all the right things right now. This is something that she wanted to do. I get very emotional watching this because it is so, so close to what she wanted. The only thing missing is her, physically.”

Fans are less than excited about the jaunt.

I'm not saying the Whitney Houston hologram tour will be a hot mess, but they are suggesting she had as much grace as a malfunctioning The Sims character wafting away a fart on #ThisMorning pic.twitter.com/9uJJCnCfTZ

— Mr Adam Remain 🇪🇺 (@MrAdamR) February 19, 2020

Whitney Houston hologram on This Morning. Looks nothing like her, and doesn’t look at all real. Just looks like a big TV screen playing a slightly laggy video of a lookalike.

— Charles Thomson (@CEThomson) February 19, 2020

I wish I WOULD see on somebodies snapchat story of them being at a Whitney Houston hologram concert . https://t.co/JxQVVm71BK

— Trevor Norris (@trevor_norris0) February 19, 2020

Houston's digital doppelgänger joins holograms of Tupac Shakur, Eazy-E and Ol' Dirty Bastard. An Amy Winehouse hologram tour was expected to launch last year but never got off the ground.

“An Evening With Whitney Houston: The Whitney Houston Hologram Tour” will include hits like “Saving All My Love For You,” “How Will I Know,” and “I Will Always Love You.”

The tour launches in England on Feb. 25 and runs through April. U.S. dates are expected to be announced at a later date.

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Lauryn Hill, Usher, TLC And Ludacris To Headline Lovers & Friends Festival

The lineup for the upcoming Lovers & Friends Festival is stacked with nostalgia. Lauryn Hill, Usher, TLC, Ludacris and Lil Jon, are set to headline the inaugural one-day music extravaganza, festival organizers announced on Tuesday (Feb. 18).

Additional performers include Summer Walker, Megan Thee Stallion, Jhene Aiko, Saweetie, Sean Paul, T-Pain, Monica, Ja Rule, Foxy Brown, Dru Hill, Tweet, Amerie, Eve, Jon B, Montell Jordan, and Nina Sky.

Lil’ Kim, Twista and Mase were reported among the lineup but according to Billboard they denied involvement in the festival.

Presale tickets go on sale on Thursday, Feb. 20, at 10 PM PST. In the meantime, fans can register on loversandfriendsfest.com for an exclusive presale code and a link to purchase tickets before they go on sale.

General admission tickets range from $145-$175. VIP tickets will go on sale for $230-$250, and Super VIP passes start at $450. The festival also offers ticket payment plans for as little as $19.99 down.

The Lovers & Friends Festival takes place on May 9 at the Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, Calif.

 

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A post shared by Lovers & Friends Festival (@loversandfriendsfest) on Feb 18, 2020 at 12:30pm PST

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Courtesy of ReeMarkable

Premiere: ReeMarkable Turns The Lights Down Low With Sy Ari Da Kid For "VIBE"

Rapper Henree Wright, also known as ReeMarkable, is slowing things down on the sweetest of days with her new single, "VIBE."

With songwriter Sy Ari Da Kid (Future, Waka Flocka Flame) on the track, the two toy with an idea of a relationship after years apart. In addition to the love that lies beneath the games, the song also serves as a great addition to any playlist dedicated to Mary Jane. Produced by Atlanta's 8 Major, ReeMarkable takes a detour from the gritty raps heard on tracks like "Pardon Me" and "Bonnie And Clyde" and into more experimental sounds.

ReeMarkable's journey in music has been documented through her time on the series Growing Up Hip-Hop as the daughter of the late iconic rapper, Eazy-E. As his youngest child, the rapper-singer opened up about her struggles breaking into the industry and how she plans to honor her father through her music.

Recently, ReeMarkable paid homage to her father by recreating his most iconic images. Originally taken by legendary photographer Ricky Powell, ReeMarkable's take is commendable as she barely a striking resemblance to Eazy.

 

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I was a baby when you left this world , I have no memories, but I also don’t have any pain from your return to heaven. I am honored to be your daughter . I am the Spitting image of you and it warms me to see a legend every-time I look in the mirror. Today is a day for celebration as you would have came upon your 54th birthday . So here’s my gift to you . A shoot dedicated to simply, you . I directed this shoot and worked with a great team to capture your spirit daddy . I Love you & Happy Birthday , I hope you all enjoy . Captured by @lsfotography1 Graphics by @colourfulmula Make up by @tunchyy.marie Styled & directed by @iamreemarkable Special thanks to @vinceamani @exclusivegame , @bfflyer , @lakayb_ @thelazyhustler & All my Family Friends and Fans !! 🧡 #ripeazye EVERYONE SAY HAPPY BIRTHDAY FOR ME 🎈🎁

A post shared by ReeMarkable (@iamreemarkable) on Sep 7, 2018 at 7:14am PDT

Enjoy "VIBE" below.

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