Talib Kweli Cancels Concert After Venue Books Racist Act

Talib Kweli
via Mike Maguire / CC-BY-2.0

Talib Kweli recently canceled a show on his “Radio Silence Tour” after finding out that the venue booked a band that may be connected to white supremacists.

According to The Kansas City Star, Kweli told management at the Riot Room in Kansas City that he refused to perform at his Feb. 21 show once he became aware that the music venue had booked a band called Taake, a Scandinavian black-metal group from Bergen-Norway, who allegedly has ties to white supremacists. Taake’s show at the Riot Room is on the roster for March 31.

In a statement released on Tuesday (Feb. 20), Kweli 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.”

He also explained that he was dissatisfied with the response he received from the Riot Room, in regards to the issue. “The response I received was that the venue did not want to choose sides between a band that sympathizes with racism and bigotry and me. I think it’s time to choose a side. I find it appalling that the Riot Room refuses to apologize for booking this band.”

Taake’s alleged white supremacist ties dates back to a 2007 Germany show, where the group’s lead singer Hoest entered the stage with a Swastika painted on his chest. When questioned about the situation, Hoest told the owner of the club where the incident occurred that the group’s concept was built on “provocation and evil,” and to “suck a Muslim.”

In addition, Taake has been criticized for their lyrics that some have considered to be xenophobic. The band responded by saying their sole intent is to criticize all religions.

On social media, some questioned Kweli’s decision. “I completely understand the difference, but how does a neutral venue draw the line on freedom? Please understand that nobody involved in your show supports Nazis venue included,” one Twitter user wrote.

“If you allow a Nazi band to grace your stage you support Nazis. You must work for the Riot Room.  F*ck you,” the rapper replied.

Hoest has since released another statement addressing his decision to use the Swastika: “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.”

Currently, Taake’s March 31 show remains on the Riot Room’s calendar, despite the fact that one of their openers, goth-country artist King Dude, has dropped off the entire tour. He released a statement about the situation that said: “The banner under which people enter a King Dude concert must be welcoming to all people of all walks of life, race, religion, gender etc.”

As of late, venues in New York and Chicago have joined the ban on Taake and have either cancelled — or are planning to — cancel any upcoming bookings the band has in those areas.