Is this why we can’t have nice things? An events organization called StartUp RockOn threw an inauguration bash last night, doling out grants and celebrating “the success we achieved at the RNC and DNC this summer.” Sadly, it culminated in rapper Lupe Fiasco being hustled off-stage, after 30 minutes of anti-Obama verses.
Founded by the Internet triumvirate of HyperVocal, EventFarm and Fighter Interactive, StartUp RockOn aims to stage the kind of event “that actually represents the passion, excitement, and energy that defines startup culture as we see it.” And it seems the organizers might’ve let their passion for a good party overpower the imperative to book an appropriately anodyne musical guest for an event associated with the presidential inauguration.
Mr. Fiasco, who has never been exactly shy about expressing his opinions, got onstage last night and, well, he did exactly what Lupe Fiasco does. Unfortunately, his schtick is perhaps better suited to spring weekend at Brown. And so, according to Foreign Policy staffer and attendee Josh Rogin, his performance culminated in his being escorted off stage and presumably out of the building.
Lupe Fiasco just got thrown off stage here at the Hamilton Live after he went on an anti-Obama diatribe mid set.
— Josh Rogin (@joshrogin) January 21, 2013
So Lupe played one anti-war song for 30 min and said he didn’t vote for Obama and eventually was told to move on to the next song. — Josh Rogin (@joshrogin) January 21, 2013
Lupe refused to move to the next song so a team of security guards came on stage and told him to go. — Josh Rogin (@joshrogin) January 21, 2013
The organizers have released a statement on HyperVocal denying that this was about politics, so much as it was about pulling the plug on a terrible show:
Lupe Fiasco was not “kicked off stage” for an “anti-Obama rant.” 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.
Now This News has video, and it does indeed look like the concert was a disorganized mess:
But HyperVocal also tweeted that, “Disappointed that an artist took opportunity to use an event celebrating innovation/startups to make a political statement.” Sounds like someone didn’t exactly appreciate the tenor of Mr. Fiasco performance at an event aimed at “celebrating Obama’s 2nd term and honor innovation.”
We don’t actually have the heart to check whether Fox News has picked this story up. Odds are pretty good they’re too busy discussing “Blue Monday” and/or playing sad Radiohead songs on repeat, anyway.