Afropunk founder reveals fears over signing controversial 696 form

“There was a fear that we were possibly going to be denied or shut down”

In an interview with Channel 4 News, Afropunk founder Matthew Morgan detailed his experience with having to fill out Form 696 for Afropunk London, which took place on 22-23 July at London’s Printworks. The form is an event risk assessment that was first created in October 2005 and is a requirement for live shows that “predominantly features DJs or MCs performing to a recorded backing track”. Police can cancel the shows, and the form has been accused of profiling black and Asian artists in particular.

“If I would’ve known that the 696 form was something that we would’ve had to have gone through, I probably wouldn’t have gone here with the festival,” Morgan admitted.

“You want to be embraced. What we do is a really important cultural event. We’ve been bringing people together for many, many years. We reach 40, 50 million people a week online.”

He went on to say, “This is our celebration. There was never a fight or an arrest at anything we’ve ever done.”

Morgan discusses his shock at the requirement of the form with artists such as Lianne La Havas and The Bots confirmed for the bill. While Channel 4 News speculated that the 696 form may be targeting the festival due to its inclusion of grime acts, Minister of State for Digital Matt Hancock said the form “disproportionately impacts people from black and minority ethnic backgrounds.”

Watch the interview in the player above and read Crack’s live review of Afropunk London 2017.

Recently, we interviewed artists and festival-goers at Afropunk about identity, empowerment and struggle.

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