South African DJ Black Coffee has found himself at the centre of a storm after performing in Israel.
The DJ, who is currently touring the world, tweeted a video of the crowd at a performance in Tel Aviv on the weekend.
The tweet caused outrage, as many expected Black Coffee to have joined the cultural boycott against Israel. Hundreds of artists have refused to perform in the country, citing its "apartheid"-like treatment of Palestine. In a letter published by The Guardian in 2015, a hundred more artists announced they were joining the boycott.
The letter reads:
"Israel's wars are fought on the cultural front too. Its army targets Palestinian cultural institutions for attack, and prevents the free movement of cultural workers. Its own theatre companies perform to settler audiences on the West Bank – and those same companies tour the globe as cultural diplomats, in support of 'Brand Israel'. During South African apartheid, musicians announced they weren't going to 'play Sun City'. Now we are saying, in Tel Aviv, Netanya, Ashkelon or Ariel, we won't play music, accept awards, attend exhibitions, festivals or conferences, run masterclasses or workshops, until Israel respects international law and ends its colonial oppression of the Palestinians. To see the full list of supporters, go to artistsforpalestine.org.uk."
Among the first to criticise Black Coffee's decision to play in Israel was Floyd Shivambu of the EFF.
That Israel is killing innocent Palestinians & continuing with the occupation doesn't matter? A DJ from SA, a country that benefited due to international solidarity must just go to Israel for a party & we Black people celebrate such? Where's the political & moral consciousness?— Floyd Shivambu (@FloydShivambu) April 2, 2018
South Africa's isolation and the Academic & Cultural boycott are part of the reasons Apartheid capitulated to the call for freedom. It is morally & politically insensitive for DJ Black Coffee to just go on partying in Apartheid Israel, whilst it kills & oppresses innocent people.— Floyd Shivambu (@FloydShivambu) April 2, 2018
He was joined by a chorus of activists, journalists and ordinary South Africans.
Retweet if you think Black Coffee playing in Israel this week, while Israel murdered children with snipers, is a national disgrace.— Bram Hanekom (@bram_hanekom) April 2, 2018
Black Coffee is oscillating between arrogance and feigned innocence. It's actually pathetic that a grown person who has been so supported by people in this country, would choose to behave this way. Trash.— You Don't Even Watch Al Jazeera* 🐼 (@PearlPillay) April 1, 2018
But the DJ said he was not in the business of politics, and was merely trying to feed his family.
Like everyone else I have rights and free will and no Black Coffee is not a political party...I work as an entertainer to feed my Family.— #PIECESOFME (@RealBlackCoffee) April 2, 2018
To sum it up....I'll take a bullet for my Family.
But this was not enough for many South Africans, who said this was not a good enough excuse.
Israel has sterilized African women without consent, their Rabbi called Black people monkeys, their President says African migrants are worse than terrorists plus there's a bounty on them for deportation.— Solitudinarian (@OdirileSms) April 2, 2018
Black Coffee loves Israel though.
I thought this thread was done but I'm still annoyed so ALSO:— You Don't Even Watch Al Jazeera* 🐼 (@PearlPillay) April 1, 2018
Stop acting like artists like Black Coffee are sitting at home eating bread and water and thus playing in Israel is taking them out of poverty. It's bloody disingenuous.
I have been a fan of Black Coffee's music for years & years. His decision to play in Israel & then justify it by saying he needs to feed his family is an insult, more so now after Prime Minister Binyàmin Netanyahu has said African migrants are worse than terrorists.— Siphumelele Zondi (@SZondi) April 2, 2018
Black Coffee playing in Israel and being arrogant about it shows exactly how South Africans, especially blacks took/take apartheid so lightly.... but then again, most of Black Coffee's fans are as ignorant like him, so he doesn't care— Thami KaSlwane Mthimkhulu (@Mtamerri) April 1, 2018
He SOLD OUT indeed, literally. israel is killing people out there, instead of a concerted boycott campaign, numbskulls like Black Coffee, run there, chasing shekels. Sis! pic.twitter.com/MSvGMIWsw1— Armandt van Helden (@ibadaan) April 1, 2018
How do you think South African artists should respond to cultural boycotts? Tell us on Twitter.