Israeli festival canceled after Princess Nokia cancels show

Destiny Frasqueri, known as Princess Nokia, canceled her performance at the Israeli Kalamazoo Festival. Advocates for the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) movement had previously called on Frasqueri to cancel her show as part of the cultural boycott against Israel.

Kalamazoo announced in a statement that they were “forced to cancel” the entire festival due to Frasqueri’s cancellation.

The New Yorker was to perform at Haoman 17, a nightclub in Tel Aviv in what the Kalamazoo website described as “a 24 hour international collaboration between performers, artists and innovators.” The website listed 12 other artists from around the world who were scheduled to perform.

Kalamaoo officials attributed Frasqueri’s cancellation to pressure from the BDS movement.

“Under extreme pressure from [the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement], Destiny decided to cancel her arrival in Israel. In recent weeks we have concentrated our efforts on trying to change her mind… but without much success,” the statement read.  

Cultural boycott is a major component of the BDS movement. The Palestinian BDS National Committee issued a call for a cultural boycott of Israel in 2004, modeled after the boycott of apartheid South Africa.

BDS regularly calls on artists like Frasqueri to cancel their appearances in Israel until it complies with international law. The movement has been successful in convincing numerous artists to avoid performing in Israel including Roger Waters, Pink Floyd, Talib Kweli and Lauryn Hill.

Boycott from Within, a group of Israeli citizens who advocate for BDS, specifically called on Frasqueri to cancel her show. The group posted a message on Princess Nokia’s facebook page in March.

“You are an artist dedicated to uplifting and empowering women, people of color, LGBTQ persons, and your work speaks volumes to the effort to dismantle white supremacy and misogyny. Please remember that among those are also Palestinians dying under Israeli apartheid, calling [on] you to stand in solidarity with them and boycott Israel. Please cancel your show,” the statement read.

Frasqueri did not offer an explanation for her decision to cancel her show and did not respond to PiA’s request for comment. However, Frasqueri did retweet a tweet about BDS activists thanking her for canceling the show.

Yasmeen Abdellatif

Yasmeen Abdellatif is a Palestinian-American student at Saint Xavier University in Chicago. She is an English major and minors in Writing, Middle Eastern Studies, and Spanish.

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