Published Jul 04, 2018Following public protests and artist cancellations, the Montreal International Jazz Festival has cancelled all remaining performances of the controversial musical SLĀV, who many have deemed racist and culturally appropriative.
"Since the beginning of SLĀV performances, the festival team has been shaken and strongly affected by all the comments received," festival organizers said in a statement. "We would like to apologize to those who were hurt. It was not our intention at all."
Tickets will be refunded at the point of purchase.
From the start, protestors have objected to the musical being staged, accusing it of being culturally appropriative and racist.
The production interprets slave songs, but features a cast of primarily white singers (in costume as slaves). It was directed by Robert Lepage, who is also white.
"Yes, the history of slavery, in all its various forms, belongs first and foremost to those who have been oppressed and to the descendants of those people," Lepage and the show's star Betty Bonifassi said in a joint statement defending the show last week. "Diversity and its artistic potential are at the heart of SLĀV as much as the legacy of slavery. Do we have the right to tell these stories? Audience members will have the opportunity to decide after having seen the show."
Earlier this week, Moses Sumney distanced himself from the festival due to its defence of SLĀV and cancelled his Montreal Jazz Fest set.