UPDATE: Wale responds to R20 via Twitter.
Washington D.C.-born rapper Wale has reneged on an agreement to perform at D.C. Black Pride after allegedly feeling uncomfortable with the gay event, reports Washington Blade and MetroWeekly. Wale was scheduled to headline the May 30 event at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center.
"Earl Fowlkes, a board member and spokesperson for Black Pride, said organizers were startled this week when they received two e-mails from Wale’s agent, one saying the rapper had to cancel due to 'family obligations,' and the second saying he didn’t know Black Pride was a gay-related event when he agreed to appear. 'We were clear about what kind of event this is,' Fowlkes told the Blade. 'After doing this for 20 years, we certainly don’t want to put ourselves and the artist in an uncomfortable situation by not telling them what we are. We’re Black Gay Pride... We made that very clear.' Fowlkes said Black Pride officials believe homophobia was the underlying reason that Wale canceled his appearance. He said Wale’s agent has refunded an advance fee that Black Pride made to book the rapper, but noted the group is considering taking legal action for what Fowlkes described as a breach of contract."
Didn't know "Black Gay Pride" was a gay event? That's original for someone who grew up in D.C. ...
Born Olubowale Victor Akintimehin in the District to parents who emigrated from Nigeria, Wale rose to fame in 2006 with his track "Dig Dug (Shake It)." The singer is best known for his song ''Chillin''' featuring Lady Gaga from 2009's Attention Deficit.
Organizers were able to book D.C.-born singer J. Holiday as a replacement for Wale. Holiday is one of the relatively few black male R&B singers that are willing to performed at gay events.
The first emails promoting Wale's appearance were sent to Rod 2.0 on Wednesday evening. News of the cancellation came later that day. Sources tell Rod 2.0 that Wale "got cold feet" after the email blast. But the rapper's camp tells MetroWeekly that he was "mislead."
"According to an e-mail from Jesse Kirshbaum, a talent agent representing Wale, the rapper has canceled 'shows in various markets in May alone due to his extensive spring touring of over 50 shows in March and April,' in an effort to record new music and spend time with his family. Kirshbaum goes on to say Wale...took the date because it was a local Washington event, but that he was ''mislead.' 'All of the facts of the event were not disclosed with the offer and therefore, he feels mislead and regretfully declines.'"
Singer and actress Mya—who is very popular in the black gay community—was scheduled to perform June 13 at Capital Pride festival. She has also canceled due to complications following foot surgery.
While the Wale cancellation is the first in recent memory associated with an official Black Pride event, several club promoters associated with the weekend have a history of promoting talent that was not booked. Several years ago a D.C. club promoted a Patti Labelle appearance that was never booked. And in 2008, Darryl Stephens and Jensen Atwood were the much-hyped headliners at an event that never contacted them.