Straight rapper Wale has cancelled his upcoming appearance as headliner of DC Black Pride's main event, set for Sunday, May 30, at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in downtown D.C.
Organizers of the annual Memorial Day Weekend event, marking its 20th anniversary this year, told Metro Weekly on Thursday, May 20, that Wale has opted out and that DC Black Pride will be releasing a statement soon.
Earl Fowlkes, the DC Black Pride board member acting as spokesperson for the nonprofit organization, cited homophobia for the rapper's decision.
''Basically we had an agreement, and we were very clear to the different parties and agents involved that this was an LGBT event,'' Fowlkes says.
''What happened is that when the first blast went out that Wale was going to be at Black Pride he got cold feet, and his agent first said Wale wasn't available because he had to do family stuff. Then we got another e-mail saying he didn't know what kind of event this was when he agreed to it.''
According to an e-mail from Jesse Kirshbaum, a talent agent representing Wale, the rapper has cancelled ''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, born Olubowale Victor Akintimehin in D.C. to parents who emigrated from Nigeria, according to a 2007 Washington Post profile, 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.''
Fowlkes says that is not true.
''We said, 'We told you up front, how could we hide that DC Black Pride is LGBT?''' Fowlkes says. ''They just said he couldn't do it. So it basically is homophobia rearing its ugly head once again, and on our 20th anniversary, it's really sad.''
In his e-mail to Black Pride, Kirshbaum adds, ''We'll make it up to the promoters in the future.''
The e-mail was provided to Metro Weekly through sources at Black Pride.
Wale is perhaps best known for his song ''Chillin','' featuring Lady Gaga, off his 2009 album, Attention Deficit.