/ 29 January 2014

DJ Black Coffee ignores call for Israel cultural boycott

Tebogo Hlagane meets DJ Black Coffee
Tebogo Hlagane meets DJ Black Coffee

BDS South Africa, a South African Palestine solidarity and human rights organisation based at the South African Council of Churches in Johannesburg, is calling for multi Sama-award winning DJ Black Coffee to cancel his upcoming gig in Israel – in respect of the cultural boycott of Israel issued in 2005.

The organisation says a letter sent to DJ Black Coffee's management Soulistic Music, elicited no response. Soulistic Music has confirmed that he is scheduled to perform in Tel Aviv on January 30.

In April 2004, the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI), a key part of the BDS national committee (BNC), called on intellectuals and academics worldwide to "comprehensively and consistently boycott all Israeli academic and cultural institutions as a contribution to the struggle to end Israel’s occupation, colonisation and system of apartheid".

In 2006, many Palestinian cultural workers, including most filmmakers and artists, supported by hundreds of international cultural workers, appealed to all international artists and filmmakers of good conscience to join the institutional cultural boycott against Israel. Artists such as the Klaxons and Gorillaz Sound System, Elvis Costello, Carlos Santana, Gil Scott-Heron and the Pixies heeded the call from Palestinian and international BDS groups and cancelled scheduled concerts and gigs in Israel. Coldplay, U2 and Bruce Springsteen all reportedly declined invitations to play there.

In 2012, the UK's Sunday Independent reported Madonna was being accused of "putting profit before principle in a growing backlash against artists performing in Israel". Madonna had kicked off her world tour there and had even attempted to defuse the angst by offering free tickets to local campaigners.

No stranger to championing causes, in 2009, amid a meteoric rise, enjoying international and local successes, Maphumulo launched the DJ Black Coffee Foundation to raise fund for disabled people, aiming to provide them with wheelchairs, education facilities, musical instruments and more.

Maphumulo himself was left permanently disabled when he was 13 years old, after a speeding vehicle ran over a crowd during the celebrations of Nelson Mandela's release.

The Durban-born DJ and house music producer has been on the music scene for over a decade but he was catapulted into the spotlight in 2003 when he was invited to participate in the Red Bull Academy as one of only two South African DJs. He has broken down international barriers for artists, especially under the Soulistic Music label, by becoming a regular feature in cities such as Sydney, New York, Sao Paulo, Luanda, Los Angeles and Athens.

Soulistic Music declined the offer to respond to questions posed by the Mail & Guardian. General manager Amaru da Costa indicated that it will be issuing a statement on January 31 on the matter.

DJ Black Coffee is currently on tour and was unavailable for comment.