Prior to Talib Kweli’s November 26th concert at Copenhagen’s Pumpehuset, the rapper was attacked in Christiania in a racially-motivated incident, he wrote on Instagram.
“I've been hearing about Danish racism on the rise. I witnessed it firsthand. I was attacked by two bigots last night saying they ‘hate me’ and they didn't even know who I was, they just didn't like the color of my skin. It wasn't an Internet attack, it was physical. I was hit and kicked,” Kweli wrote.
The artist’s gig went on as scheduled but Kweli said that the incident has definitely coloured his perception of Christiania, the alternative self-proclaimed ‘freetown’ in the heart of Copenhagen that he said he has been visiting for around 15 years.
“I was introduced to the area by J-Ro of the Alkaholiks, who spends a lot time in Malmö. I recorded my verse for Kanye West's ‘Get Em High
’ there. I've researched the place, I know its history. I have great respect for what that community has accomplished. I am not some tourist who obliviously wandered in,” Kweli told The Local.
Some Instagram users disputed Kweli's claim that the incident was racially motivated and said that the American rapper had been taking photos of the cannabis stalls on Pusher Street, something that has led to numerous assaults before.
Kweli vehemently denied those reports, telling The Local that he was well aware of Pusher Street's photography ban and that he only briefly had his phone out to take a call before quickly putting it away again.
“I didn't take any pictures, nor did I attempt to or remotely even look like I was taking any pictures. I took one phone call. My phone was to my ear the entire time,” he said.
The phone call led to a verbal altercation between two men before Kweli says a third man came out from behind one of the cannabis stalls looking “like he wanted to fight”.
“The third guy hit me in my face and the rest joined in on the attack. I got into a defensive position and NIKO IS [a fellow rap artist, ed.] was able to back them away from me for enough time for us to walk out of there. My gut reaction was to fight back. But because I was in a foreign country surrounded by guys I didn't know [and] who were obviously set on having an issue with me, I walked away,” Kweli told The Local.
The rapper said that he couldn’t be certain that the attack was racially motivated as he speculated on his Instagram post but all signs point in that direction.
“The disrespect, the aggression, the yelling of ‘I hate you’ are all consistent with racist physical altercations I've seen first hand. Without having an explanation or cause for the violence, that's the conclusion I arrived at,” he said.
“What happened to me there was so aggressively over the top violent for no reason, so opposite of what I thought Christiania was, it was hard trying to figure out why,” he added.