Pro-Palestine activists urge Macklemore to cancel UAE concert in solidarity with Gaza

Pro-Palestine activists urge Macklemore to cancel UAE concert in solidarity with Gaza
Fans and activists have called on the rapper to cancel his concert in Dubai, citing its 'complicity' in the war on Gaza, as well as atrocities in Sudan.
3 min read
05 June, 2024
US rapper Macklemore performs in Auckland, New Zealand while donning a Palestinian flag badge [Getty]

Activists and social media users are calling on pro-Palestine US rapper Macklemore to cancel his planned concert in the UAE in solidarity with Gaza.

Macklemore garnered widespread attention in recent months after releasing the song 'Hind's Hall' in support of Gaza, inspired by the pro-Palestinian protest movement that swept through US college campuses this year.

The rapper is set to perform on 4 October in the Coca-Cola Arena with activists pointing out that the soft drinks brand was on a boycott list due to its alleged links to Israeli companies.

The official Coca-Cola Arena website doesn't clarify if the star will perform his new hit song 'Hind's Hall', however, promises it to be a "sensational live experience" and states he will perform some of his world-famous tracks, including "Can’t Hold Us".

The announcement was met with some scepticism and condemnation from social media users and activists, who urged him to cancel the concert, particularly in light of his support for Palestinians amid the ongoing Israeli bombardment of Gaza.

"Hey Macklemore, cancel your planned concert in Dubai at the Coca-Cola Arena. The UAE is 'indirectly' complicit in Gaza’s genocide, but also it is complicit directly in Sudan and Congo," wrote one person on X.

"There are campaigns calling on everyone to boycott both UAE and Coca-Cola."

Others urged him to highlight the atrocities happening in Sudan, where at least 15,550 have been reported dead since the start of the violence in April 2023, while the UAE has been accused of supporting the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) whose fighters' rights organisations have documented killing, raping, and looting non-Arab populations in West Darfur.

Live Story

"Hey Macklemore, it’s me again asking you to consider the liberation of Sudanese people just as important as the liberation of Palestinians. Please cancel your concert in Dubai at the Coca-Cola Arena. Boycott the UAE," another said.

While the UAE has denied supplying weapons or ammunition to any of the warring factions in Sudan, Human Rights Watch has previously said the violence in Sudan could amount to genocide.

"I think if Macklemore cancelled his tour date in the UAE it wouldn’t just help with boycotting the UAE but it’ll start a discourse about their presence in Sudan and that’s what we need. We need someone with a platform that would create buzz if they stood in solidarity," a journalist and activist said in agreement.

Macklemore has been outspoken over his support for Palestine, and his recent concerts have been filled with fans waving the Palestinian flags.

He often drapes a keffiyeh around his shoulder, which has come to represent Palestinian solidarity and resilience, and is often wearing a Palestinian flag badge, or a "Free Palestine" sticker at his concerts.

In October, Macklemore raised concerns over the war on Gaza and criticised the US involvement in it.

"We are witnessing an unfolding genocide in Palestine at this very moment. A US-backed human catastrophe in front of our eyes. Gaza is being demolished," he said in an Instagram post.

Over 36,500 Palestinians in Gaza have been killed by Israeli forces since October, with at least 83,000 wounded in the same time frame.

According to Israeli news site The Jerusalem Chronicle, Macklemore made a reference to Palestine in his most recent concert in Germany.

"The only way that we can atone for our past is by today standing up against apartheid, against occupation, for free Palestine. That’s the only way," he said.

The war on the besieged enclave has caused widespread destruction, with entire neighbourhoods levelled and infrastructure destroyed.