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Amazon may be busy preparing for their music festival, but things are far from looking rosy. Several musicians have publicly pledged to boycott their upcoming event in protest of their cooperation with ICE. These artists ultimately made a point that they do not want to be associated with any entity that supports the unjust treatment of undocumented immigrants.  The Black Madonna helped start this new movement. When Amazon revealed their lineup for the festival, the DJ expressed her shock seeing that the company included her in the list. “What the fuck is this Amazon shit? I absolutely didn’t agree to this. Oh hell no,” she expressed on social media.  The outspoken EDM artist then formally separated herself from the Amazon-led event. She released an official statement saying, “I will not be performing at Intersect Festival due to their relationship with Amazon Web Services who have business ties with ICE and Homeland Security,”  

She admitted that she initially agreed to perform at the said event. But she eventually changed her mind when she found out that Amazon served as organizers of the event. “The event proposed to me initially was framed as an arts and technology weekender with other artists I deeply respected and with well known and respected production teams. It presented no cause for concern. I was not approached by employees of Amazon. I was never formally or informally advised of any Amazon branding. The offer I accepted did not propose any kind of brand partnership. I am profoundly disappointed that anyone, at any level, in the long chain of people between the offer I saw and the eventual promotion of this event presumed I would.”. Consequently, as a result of The Black Madonna’s public emancipation from both the festival and the company, digital rights organization Fight for the Future launched a petition against both entities. “No Music For ICE” called for artists to boycott Amazon’s upcoming “Intersect” Music Festival and other similar events in protest of their association with ICE. It read, “It has recently come to light that Amazon Web Services, an Amazon subsidiary with known ties to ICE and law enforcement, is hosting a festival marketed as an experience “where music, technology, and art converge.” We the undersigned artists are outraged that Amazon continues to provide the technical backbone for ICE’s human rights abuses.”. 

The letter also laid out the artists’ condition on what Amazon must do to earn their support again. First, the retail behemoth must terminate and sever ties to all government agencies that have committed human rights violations. Beyond just ICE, the letter also noted agencies like the CBP and the ORR. They also ask that Amazon stop providing Cloud service to said agencies in their deportation operations. Such service only strengthens and encourages what these artists believe to be one of the government’s biggest atrocities. And lastly, the letter also asks that Amazon end projects that push for racial profiling and discrimination. Amazon’s Intersect Music Festival will run from December 6 to 7, 2019 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Just don’t expect The Black Madonna, DJ Durbin, James Holden, and hundreds of other artists who signed the letter. Stay tuned on this space for more updates. 

Image Credits:

  1. Amazon Music Festival – Intersect.aws
  2. The Audience at a Music Festival – Intersect.aws
  3. The Black Madonna – Rolling Stone.com
  4. Anti ICE Protest – MTV.com
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