After being banned on Friday, May 13, from performing at a ceremony to mark the centenary of the World War I Battle of Verdun in France, rapper Alpha Diallo, popularly known as Black M is in the middle of a French socialist and nationalist controversy.
The rapper and singer-songwriter, who is of a Guinean descent, is from the rap group Sexion d’Assaut, which has been accused of being homophobic in their lyrics drawing huge controversies in the past years.
31-year-old Black M is being punished for using “homophobic” and “anti-Semitic” lyrics as quoted former French president Nicolas Sarkozy by french news website Le Figaro saying many French socialists supporters were equally “deeply shocked by the invitation to a national commemoration, a singer who insulted France in his lyrics, and made homophobic and anti-Semitic comments, even though he apologized.”
The mayor of the small city of Verdun, Socialist Samuel Hazard, was pressured to cancel the concert that Friday after a lawsuit was filed and a barrage of calls by far-right politicians like Sarkozy and also a legal suit who found Black M’s concert unacceptable.
The opposing socialist politicians and supporters later called for the re-organisation of the concert accusing the far-right of “thought policing” and “outpouring hatred” as quoted RFI.
Socialist Francois Hollande in a television interview distanced the state from the decision to cancel the concert and assured that “the state would be willing to put up the means to secure a possible concert in Verdun”.
“If the mayor wanted to, it’s up to him to decide and the state would secure the means for the concert,” President Francois Hollande left the ball in the court of the Verdun mayor.
The mayor however maintained his decision saying the regional and departmental heads have reaffirmed their support for the cancellation.
Meanwhile, Black M has responded saying he is proud to be a French national and that his grandfather, Alpha Mamoudou Diallo, fought in World War II with a Senegalese regiment stationed at Verdun.
A president of a music label in Guinea has declared a campaign #JeSuisBlackM to support the rapper in the attacks he is facing in France.
Black M released his first studio album, Les yeux plus gros que le monde, in 2014. In 2015, he released his latest songs Le prince Aladin and Dans ma rue.