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Inauguration 2013: Lupe Fiasco leaves concert after antiwar rant

January 21, 2013|By Michael Muskal

Lupe Fiasco has been nominated for a Grammy Award but it is unlikely he will be named entertainer of the year -- at least if President Obama's fans get to vote.

Fiasco was asked to leave the stage at a Sunday night pre-inauguration concert in Washington after the 31-year-old rapper performed an antiwar song. Known as the StartUp RockOn inauguration event at the Hamilton Live Theater, the concert featured Fiasco (born Wasalu Muhammad Jaco), who has not been shy about criticizing Obama before.

In video of the incident, Lupe is rapping an extended antiwar piece that includes the refrain: "[Rush] Limbaugh is a racist, Glenn Beck is a racist." Obama allies have fought often with the arch-conservative media personalities.

The performer, who has criticized Obama's stance on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict before and has said that he does not vote in elections because of his anti-establishment views, goes on: "Gaza Strip was getting bombed, Obama didn't say ... . That's why I ain't vote for him, next one either."

Concertgoers grew annoyed and a staff member approached Fiasco, but the rapper continued until the concert hall lights were dimmed. He then left the stage, but was not forced off, according to concert promoters.

"Lupe Fiasco performed at this private event, and as you may have read, he left the stage earlier than we had planned,” concert organizers said in an email to reporters. "But Lupe Fiasco was not 'kicked off stage' for an 'anti-Obama rant.' We are staunch supporters of free speech, and free political speech. This was not about his opinions. Instead, after a bizarrely repetitive, jarring performance that left the crowd vocally dissatisfied, organizers decided to move on to the next act.

"The party continued as planned," they said.

During an interview with CBS in 2011, Fiasco called Obama a terrorist. "The biggest terrorist is Obama and the United States of America. I'm trying to fight the terrorism that's actually causing the other forms of terrorism," he said.

"You know, the root cause of terrorism is the stuff the U.S. government allows to happen. The foreign policies that we have in place in different countries that inspire people to become terrorists."

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