Outrage swirls around black-metal group Taake, as fans and artists alike respond to a 2007 photo of frontman Hoest wearing a painted swastika across his chest onstage. In recent weeks, dark-folk act King Dude dropped from a scheduled tour with the band, and groups claiming to be AntiFa have protested the group's shows, effectively canceling a gig at New York City's Le Poisson Rouge. The reaction thus far had been relegated to heavy music, but now rapper Talib Kweli is in the mix after canceling his own upcoming appearance after Taake was booked at Kansas City's Riot Room.
Kweli made the following statement as reported by Billboard, "My position is that the venue should not want to host that band whether the band canceled or not, and should issue an apology for even booking the band. The response I received was that the venue did not want to choose sides between a band that sympathizes with racism and bigotry and me. I think it's time to choose a side.
"I find it appalling that The Riot Room refuses to apologize for booking this band. I wouldn't feel safe bringing my team, family, and fans into a venue that is sympathetic to white nationalism, so I've canceled the show. It's a shame because I was really looking forward to performing in Kansas City."
Hoest responded to recent accusations of Nazism, claiming that, "once and for all, Taake are not Nazis. I have clearly explained many times throughout the years that me wearing a swastika once at a German concert was not at all meant to show support for the Nazi ideology. It was all about doing something extreme for the sake of it, which certainly backfired."
Update February 20th: The Riot Room has responded to Talib Kweli's criticisms and the general backlash and canceled Taake's scheduled appearance. The venue released the following statement, "We have decided to cancel the Taake event scheduled to be held March 31st at The Riot Room. Refunds will be processed immediately for anyone who purchased tickets. As a venue, it is our priority to provide a safe, inclusive, and enjoyable environment for all patrons, artists, and staff. This always has, and will always continue to be our primary goal."