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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.

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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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A source reveals to the publication, "Kelly had been signed to Jive since the beginning of his career in the early 1990s, and when Jive became part of Sony BMG, he became part of the Sony umbrella. He has been under contract at RCA, a Sony subsidiary, since 2012." Protests calling for Sony to drop the Pied Piper of R&B took place outside of the company's Manhattan offices on Wednesday (Jan. 16).

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"Allegations against Kelly have been around for over a decade, and he was acquitted on child pornography charges in 2008," Billboard continues. "But they have resurfaced repeatedly in recent years, with the latest arriving this month. Kelly has repeatedly denied all allegations of misconduct."

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Leikeli47 Drops Video For 'Tic Boom,' Announces North American Tour

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The neutrally-colored video featured simple-yet-eye catching choreography with dancers in trench coats and fedoras. In a statement, the masked marvel says that there is a deeper meaning behind the track, which was featured on Grown-ish.

"These young women are in a face off with their inner fears; that's why it sometimes may look like they're engaging in a face off with themselves," the Brooklyn-bred musician says of the song. "It's about facing whatever your Goliath is and chopping its head off. That's what 'Tic Boom' is about. It's about owning your moment, mastery, and doing it afraid if you have to."

As for the Acrylic Tour, it will begin on March 19 in Kansas City, MO, and concludes on Apr. 26 in San Diego, Calif. Check out the full list of dates below and cop your tickets today.

3/19/19 - Kansas City, MO - Encore @ Uptown 3/20/19 - St. Louis, MO - Fubar 3/21/19 - St. Paul, MN - Amsterdam 3/22/19 - Chicago, IL - Sub T 3/24/19 - Detorit, MI - Shelter 3/25/19 - Toronto, ON - Velvet 3/26/19 - Montreal, QC - Belmont 3/27/19 - Philadelphia, PA - The Foundry @ The Fillmore 3/28/19 - Brooklyn, NY - Elsewhere 3/30/19 - Washington, DC - Milky 4/01/19 - Boston, MA - The Sinclair 4/03/19 - Pittsburgh, PA - Spirit Lodge 4/04/19 - Atlanta, GA - Loft 4/06/19 - Scottsdale, AZ - Pub Rock 4/09/19 - Houston, TX - White Oak Music Hall 4/10/19 - Dallas, TX - Dada 4/11/19 - Austin, TX - Empire Control Room 4/14/19 - Santa Cruz, CA - Atrium @ The Catalyst 4/15/19 - Sacramento, CA - Harlow's 4/16/19 - Oakland, CA - The New Parish 4/18/19 - Portland, OR - Holocene 4/19/19 - Vancouver, B.C. - Fortune Soundclub 4/21/19 - Seattle, WA - The Crocodile 4/24/19 - Los Angeles, CA - The Roxy 4/25/19 - Santa Ana, CA - Constellation Room @ The Observatory 4/26/19 - San Diego, CA - Irenic

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“[Wilson] do exactly what she tell him to do!" Fewtch said in reference to the NFL player. "I feel like he not being a man in that position. He not tellin’ her, 'Chill out with that on the Internet. Don’t even talk to him [Future]. I’m your husband! You better not even bring Future’s name up!’"

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"You know I'm taking care of my kids, what's the real issue?" he continues. "Y'all get married, and [Ciara] was like "I want you to meet Russell now," man, y'all already done did all the damage." However, he did give Wilson his props for helping his son learn how to play sports, and he doesn't look at that negatively.

Future and Ciara have not had an amicable split. They have gone back-and-forth with their words on social media and attempted to settle a custody battle for the four-year-old son, Future.

Listen to his comments below.

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