Arts Desk

Event Organizers Read Homophobia in Wale’s Scrapped Black Pride Performance

waleRapper Wale was to be the first heterosexual male to perform at DC Black Pride in the event's 20-year history. Instead, he has become the first performer to cancel an appearance at the event.

DC Black Pride announced May 14 that Wale would be the headline performer at its May 30 event at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center. He was scheduled to perform for 45 minutes and earn $18,000. Wale pulled out four days later, citing his desire to spend more time with family.

Board member Earl Fowlkes, speaking on behalf of DC Black Pride, expressed skepticism. "Wale lives in Bowie. It's not like his family lives in California or something."

Instead, Fowlkes thinks that attention from gay media deterred the rapper. "In my opinion, I think he started to get cold feet when Metro Weekly called. They called him for an interview Monday, and the next day he backed out."

Fowlkes said that it is common for black heterosexual male performers to distance themselves from the LGBT community. "They're afraid that if they appear in front of a gay audience, they will be perceived as gay, and it will affect their fanbase," said Fowlkes. "But whatever they lose from the straight community, they would gain in the gay community. It's bad from a business perspective."

Organizers were clear about the nature of the Black Pride event when booking Wale, according to Fowlkes. "If you don't tell a performer who his audience is, that's a recipe for disaster," he said.

Aware that the rapper might be sensitive to some of the attention surrounding the event, Fowlkes said DC Black Pride organizers were planning to limit their promotion of Wale's performance. "We tried to anticipate some of his needs," he said. "We weren't going to put him on the cover of our program."

R&B singer J. Holiday , whom event organizers have booked in Wale's place, is now set to become the first male heterosexual to perform at DC Black Pride.

Following yesterday's e-mail exchange with Metro Weekly, Jesse Kirshbaum, a talent agent representing Wale, said that he was unable to further comment on the story.

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  • Kim Chi Ha

    J holiday's gonna put em to bed.

  • Pingback: Media Questions Of The Week |

  • Wale

    so basically the reason I backed out isn't because of homophobia, I just have a family event to attend to. This could of been the Oprah Winfrey show and my decision would of been the same. I'm outchea!

  • Erin Petty

    Wale, if it's really you, I'd love to do an interview and share your side of the story. Contact me at if you're interested.

  • Michael C.

    @Wale. Coward. Face the most sissified of gay boys have more courage and masculinity than a spineless, nutless wonder such as yourself.

  • Really!?!

    Pulling out may not be because of homophobia. But what Wale said in the comments is different from Kirshbaum's email in Metro Week. How does he explain the inconsistency?

    Also, I agree with Erin. If you want your story to be heard, do the interview. A comment on the blog doesn't cut it. You felt her story was worth a comment. Have the manners to grant her an interview.

  • noodlez



  • Zaccai Free

    for Wale to book a show and not know about the "family event" is quite strange

    for Noodlez to refer to human beings as "thangs" is symptomatic of the mental illness that has the blk community in denial of the reality of LGBTQ lifestyle--whatever the reason 4 its existence, it's here and we need to embrace folks, particularly those who are castigated and dehumanized, cause we have too much in common to act as if we're superior . .. .In germany they came for the Homosexuals first then the gypsys, then the jews--Wake up!! and stop the hate

  • Shani

    If there were personal issues that Wale had to address after arrangements were made for his performance, there were personal issues that he had to address....Why are people making more out of an issue that it may actually be?? It's not unheard of for conflicts to arise at the last minute after artists/performers have made a commitment, regardless of how bad the timing is. Furthermore, just about EVERYONE from the DC area knows what the DC Black Pride event is, so I would like to believe he could have declined from the start if he was truly a homophobe. Sure, if he ended up performing anyway, he could have postponed whatever family commitment he made in the first place, but he showed up to make a point that he did not have toNonetheless, I look at him no differently and am still a fan.