Grammy award nominee Lupe Fiasco was asked to leave the stage of an inauguration event Jan. 20 interrupting an anti-war song by the 31-year-old rapper in a performance that was characterized as “bizarre” and “jarring.”
The incident occurred at a pre-inauguration concert in Washington, D.C. at which Fiasco, hired as a headliner for the StartUp RockOn inauguration event at the Hamilton Live Theater, staged a 30-minute rant in which he labeled conservative commentators Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck racists and sang about how he didn’t vote for Obama.
In a segment of a video posted Jan. 21 by WGN-TV, Fiasco is seen leaving the stage under the stern visage of what looks like a concert staff member.
"Gaza Strip was getting bombed, Obama didn't say ---.... That's why I ain't vote for him, next one either," he said according to the Los Angeles Times. Amid jeering from the crowd, he was approached by a staff member of the concert organizers and walked off stage, although he was not forcibly removed.
Organizers of the event said in a statement, “…he left the stage earlier than we had planned. But Lupe Fiasco was not ‘kicked off stage’ for an ‘anti-Obama rant.’”
The statement, posted on HyperVocal.com, said, “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. Lupe Fiasco repeated the one song for more than 40 minutes.”
StartUp was created by three media firms, including HyperVocal, which describes itself as “Internet Sherpas, groundskeepers of rationality, arbiters of reality and pseudo-nonsense.”