Angola: Rappers’ concerts cancelled, one shut down by police

10 November 2016

Rappers Ikonoklasta (real name: Luaty Beirão) and MCK planned to hold joint concert ‘Ikopongo’ on 5 November 2016 at a venue in Angolan capital Luanda, but had to reschedule the event for the next day at a different venue after management cancelled the show; the relocated show was then shut down by police, reported Deutsche Welle on 7 November 2016.

Management of cultural centre Chá de Caxinde, the original concert venue, gave no explanation for why they cancelled the event. The rappers then moved the concert to another venue, Cine Tivoli, set for the next day, 6 November 2016; however, police arrived and, according to Beirão, “withdrew the operating license of the space”.

“I think people are afraid to be associated with this kind of frontal artistic expression,” Beirão told Deutsche Welle. “After making the payment [for Cine Tivoli], they [the police] arbitrarily told us that we cannot perform the concert. With the police involved and everything, the explanation is that it is fear; fear of reprisal.”

MCK explained to RFI on 6 November 2016 that their event was “just a rap concert” and not a “rally” or “speech”, but that the “regime is not used to the plurality of ideas”.  “We are a little used to this censorship – these boycotts – and never give up,” MCK said.

The rappers are considering taking legal action against the authorities. After the shutdown, the rappers announced they would live broadcast the concert online from a secret location on 7 November 2016.

Rappers targeted for their activism
The two rappers have often been targeted by authorities for their criticism of the government, both in their music as well as in their public activism.

In June 2015, Beirão was arrested along with 16 other activists after they discussed a book about non-violent resistance at their book club. In March 2016, the rapper was sentenced to five-and-a-half years in prison for “planning a rebellion against the president of the republic, criminal association and falsifying documents”. The other activists were given prison terms of between two and eight years.

A year later, in June 2016, Beirão and the other activists were freed on conditional release by the Supreme Court of Luanda.

In November 2015, MCK was informed at Luanda International Airport that he was barred from leaving Angola. The rapper was on his way to Brazil to perform at a rap festival.

MCK has often featured Beirão on his albums, sung lyrics criticising authorities and dedicated his shows to the imprisoned activists and rappers.

“This is an oppressive regime which, as we are at the door of the elections, is beginning to show a growing nervousness,” Beirão explained to Deutsche Welle. “Artists aren’t the only targets, but the whole of society as well, but we must not give up.”

Angola is set to hold parliamentary elections in August 2017, after which the leader of the winning party would become president. Current President José Eduardo dos Santos has been president of Angola since 1979 and has said he would step down and retire from office in 2018, though he has made such statements before.

Video of the secret 7 November 2016 concert from Batida Official’s YouTube channel:


» Deutsche Welle – 7 November 2016:
Luaty Beirão: “People are afraid”

» Amnesty International – 7 November 2016:
Angola: Blocking rap concert is state censorship

» RFI – 6 November 2016:
Angola: MCK and Luaty Beirão denounce concert block

» Club-K – 5 November 2016:
Cha de Caxinde censor Luaty and MCK

More from Freemuse

» 30 March 2016: Angola: Rapper Luaty Beirão sentenced to over five years in prison

» 26 November 2015: Angola: Rapper MCK barred from leaving the country

» 16 October 2015: Angola: Freemuse calls for immediate release of detained rapper

» 16 July 2012: Angola: Rapper arrested for drug smuggling: ‘I was framed’

» 24 May 2012: Angola: Rap artists attacked again by Angolan pro-government militias

» 26 March 2012: Angola: Rappers beaten up before manifestation

» 7 September 2011: Angola: Two rappers among group of protestors arrested

» 13 March 2011: Angola: 17 young rap musicians arrested

» 1 March 2004: Angola: When the people’s silence speaks

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