Talib Kweli Cancels Show After Venue Books Allegedly Racist Band

Talib Kweli has canceled his upcoming performance at the Riot Room in Kansas City, Mo. in response to the venue’s booking of Taake, a Norwegian black metal band that has come under fire for alleged ties to white nationalism. “I find it appalling that the Riot Room refuses to apologize for booking this band,” Kweli said in a statement. “I wouldn’t feel safe bringing my team, family, and fans into a venue that is sympathetic to white nationalism, so I’ve cancelled the show.”

Taake frontman Hoest once performed with a swastika drawn on his chest, and lyrics to some of their songs have been seen as anti-Muslim. But the band has denied they are racist many times over the years, including in a Facebook post on February 16. In a recent interview with Metal Insider, Hoest said, “Presenting us as ‘Neo Nazi,’ ‘openly racist,’ ‘wearing swastikas’ (in plural, like it’s a habit of mine), etc. are just plain lies. And ‘Islamophobic?’ A phobia is an irrational mental illness. So quite the contrary, religion is an irrational mental illness.”

Kweli’s full statement reads:

My position is that the venue should not want to host that band whether the band cancelled or not, and should issue an apology for even booking the band. 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. I wouldn’t feel safe bringing my team, family and fans into a venue that is sympathetic to white nationalism, so I’ve cancelled the show. It’s a shame because I was really looking forward to performing in Kansas City.

Taake’s upcoming New York and Chicago shows were canceled by their respective venues due to concerns about the band’s politics. Yesterday, opening act King Dude dropped out of the tour.