The Black Madonna Furious Over Appearance On Amazon Fest Lineup: “I Absolutely Didn’t Agree To This”

Natt Lim/Getty Images for FYF

The Black Madonna Furious Over Appearance On Amazon Fest Lineup: “I Absolutely Didn’t Agree To This”

Natt Lim/Getty Images for FYF

Amazon Web Services — an extension of Amazon that focuses on cloud computer and web hosting — is hosting their first music and arts festival Intersect Festival, in Las Vegas this December. The event was announced in September with a preliminary lineup, and yesterday they unveiled a full poster with additional artists that are scheduled to perform, among them the DJ known as the Black Madonna.

As Pitchfork points out, the DJ took to Twitter to claim that she was unaware of Amazon’s involvement in the festival. “What the fuck is this Amazon shit? I absolutely didn’t agree to this. Oh hell no,” she tweeted. “My head is going to explode. I’m so furious right now.”

In a couple replies to other Twitter users, she says that Amazon’s name is “on NONE of the offers or paperwork.” “I absolutely denounce it and to reiterate, I have no idea what’s going on here,” she wrote in another tweet. “I have no idea what the fuck is going on but I’m about to find the fuck out and I suggest that everyone else do the same.”

UPDATE: In a statement to Pitchfork, a rep for Amazon Web Services writes, “Our affiliation of the Intersect Festival is clear in the contract that was signed by Black Madonna’s management team. ‘Amazon Web Services’ was named in the contract five separate times, and throughout creative materials that were reviewed and approved. Regardless, we’ve decided to release her from her contractual obligation.”

Meanwhile the Black Madonna resumed tweeting about the situation Friday. “I was booked by completely different people for a show that didn’t yet have a name,” she wrote, adding, “Looking at this I wouldn’t have known it was a show I was on. The promoters that booked me aren’t even mentioned in the art.” Find her full updated comments below.

UPDATE: The Black Madonna has officially pulled out of the Amazon-sponsored Intersect Festival due to the company’s business ties to ICE and Homeland Security. Read her full statement below.

I will not be performing at Intersect Festival due to their relationship with Amazon Web Services who have business ties with ICE and Homeland Security.

The event proposed to me initially was framed as and arts and technology weekender with other artists I deeply respected and with well known and respected production teams. It presented no cause for concern. I was not approached by employees of Amazon. I was never formally or informally advised of any Amazon branding. The offer I accepted did not propose any kind of brand partnership. I am profoundly disappointed that anyone, at any level, in the long chain of people between the offer I saw and the eventual promotion of this event presumed I would. My contract intentionally prohibits that my name or likeness be connected in any way with any form of sponsorship endorsement of any kind including but not limited to commercial and/or political endorsements, without the prior written agreement of myself.

Clearly, I was shocked and hurt when press and promotional materials appeared with my name on an event presented by AWS yesterday. Many of you expressed your disappointment too and you were right to do so. I share it completely and amplify it.

This issue is not just ideological for me, it is a moral and ethical transgression against my work, my faith and most importantly the people I stand with. As a global ambassador for the Help Refugees organization, I raise awareness and donate 100% of my merchandise sales to refugee assistance and personally provide grants to undocumented families fleeing persecution in their home countries.

I am in total solidarity with the demonstrators, workers, other tech laborers, and immigrants and all people of conscience in calling for and end to corporate digital collaboration with US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and the Department of Homeland Security.

In our personal and professional lives we all navigate contradictions and unclear lines in a world that makes it very hard to do the right thing. This is especially true in the arts, where independent workers often depend on relationships with brands to pay the bills. I am in a position to say that I will not agree to perform at an AWS branded event. I know that position isn’t an option for all artists. Respect to all of you, in any case.

I was looking forward to the show and I am sorry that I won’t be able to be with all of you for this one. But we will meet again on a dancefloor soon. And in the meanwhile I encourage each one of you reading this to visit the following organizations and learn more about how you can help people living without documents and seeking asylum and human rights around the world.

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