Talib Kweli has just set off on an extensive tour, but due to the stance of Kansas' Riot Room, he's decided to cancel his show at the venue. Kweli was scheduled to perform at the Riot Room tonight, but in response to the venue's booking of Norwegian black metal Taake, he's taking a stand and won't be playing there anymore. Taake have previously made headlines for their provocative subject matter and live shows, which has resulted in accusations of white nationalism.
In a statement he shared with Pitchfork, he writes, "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." Taake's lyrics have been accused of being openly racist, specifically against Muslims. In 2007, Taake's lead singer Hoest appeared on stage in Germany with corpse paint on his face and a swastika on his chest. In Germany, it is illegal to depict swastikas, and as a result all subsequent dates in Germany were canceled.
At the time, Hoest responded to the controversy on his website, explaining, "Taake is not a political is not a political Nazi band." He would later go on to contradict that statement when he told the owner of the venue he performed at to "go suck a Muslim!" after referring to him as a "untermensch," an unsavory word Nazis used to described "non-Aryan" people during WW2.
Kweli's statement says that the band refuses to "choose sides between a band that sympathizes with racism and bigotry and me." He explained further, "I think it's time to choose a side." As Brooklyn Vegan notes, Taake's upcoming shows in New York and Chicago have both been canceled by the venues that initially booked them.
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.” Sounds like something a white nationalist would say, my guy.