Rapper Lupe Fiasco was not feeling the inaugural love on Sunday night when he was supposedly thrown offstage and escorted from the premises of a Washington, D.C. concert hall during a pre-inauguration concert.
The Grammy nominated rapper was performing at the StartUp RockOn Inauguration bash at the Hamilton Live Theater when he publicly criticized the president. According to concertgoers, the 31-year old performer went on an anti-war, anti-Obama rant during which he shared that he didn’t actually vote for the president.
Though he was asked to perform just one night before Obama’s second inauguration, this is not the first time the rapper has publicly spoken out against Obama. He also has been long known to voice his discontent with the American voting system.
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Fiasco opened his set with “Words I never Said,” his 2011 hit. During the performance, he criticized the president for his silence after recent bombing of the Gaza strip. During the 20 minute rap rant Fiasco continually rhymed, “Limbaugh is a racist, Glenn is a racist, Gaza strip was getting bombed, Obama didn’t say s***.”
As concertgoers grew increasingly angry, a staff member approached Fiasco asking him to change songs. He continued with his chastising lyrics when his microphone was cut and the concert hall lights were dimmed, but that didn’t stop the fiasco as he continued to rap and his band continued to play. Venue bouncers then intervened forcing him off stage and replacing his set with a DJ.
Josh Rogin, a reporter with Foreign Policy magazine tweeted about the event last night. “Lupe Fiasco just got thrown off stage here at the Hamilton Live after he went on an anti-Obama diatribe mid set.”
This tweet was followed by two others that read, “So Lupe played one anti-war song for 30 min and said he didn’t vote for Obama and eventually was told to move on to the next song.” And “Lupe refused to move to the next song so a team of security guards came on stage and told him to go.”
The Startup RockOn concert, which prides itself on its website as “a celebration of the entrepreneurs, innovators, and risk takers that make this country what it is,” hosted Fiasco as its headliner.
Today, however StartUp RockOn Organizers released an official statement saying that Lupe Fiasco ended his performance early, but was never actually kicked off stage.
“Lupe Fiasco performed at this private event, and as you may have read, he left the stage earlier than we had planned. But Lupe Fiasco was not ‘kicked off stage’ for an “anti-Obama rant.”
The statement continues, “We are staunch supporters of free speech, and free political speech. This was not about his opinions. Instead, after a bizarrely repetitive, jarring performance that left the crowd vocally dissatisfied, organizers decided to move on to the next act.”
But this statement does not add up to the tweet that hypervocal, one of the concerts sponsors, tweeted last night.
“Disappointed that an artist took opportunity to use an event celebrating innovation/startups to make a political statement. #StartUpRockOn.”