A scuttled charity concert appearance by K'naan has provoked criticism of the Canadian hip-hop artist, despite the organizers' admission that they were at fault.
The Juno-winning Somali-Canadian performer, who rose to international acclaim this year with his World Cup anthem Wavin' Flag, was supposed to be the headliner for a charity concert at Simon Fraser University in Burnaby, B.C., on Tuesday night.
The concert was to have been the finale of a daylong World Peace Day event to raise money for African charities and organized by the student group I Vision One World.
'We were not able to fulfil our end of the contract of the headlining act and further negotiations were unsuccessful. We absolutely do not support any attack on character whatsoever on any of the parties involved.' — I Vision One World
K'naan's booking agent, Paquin Entertainment, pulled his participation a few hours shy of his appearance, saying organizers failed to come up with more than 50 per cent of the agreed upon fee.
In the ensuing days, angry students attacked K'naan online via social media sites.
But K'naan's management said that money wasn't the only issue and that concert organizers also "broke key contractual obligations."
"It wasn't just the financial issues," K'naan's manager, Sol Guy, told the Globe and Mail. . "There were production issues. He's disappointed. He didn't want to let people down. But my job is to protect him from a bad environment."
In a statement posted online on Thursday, I Vision One World apologized for K'naan's cancelled appearance.
"We were unable to raise the funds we had projected," the group said. "Thus, we were not able to fulfil our end of the contract of the headlining act and further negotiations were unsuccessful.
"We absolutely do not support any attack on character whatsoever on any of the parties involved. This was simply an unfortunate occurrence between honourable and well-meaning entities. We hope that this incident does not take away from the meaningful and charitable work that all parties are involved in."
The group is offering full refunds until Oct. 6 to those who bought tickets to Tuesday's show.
K'naan has not commented to the news media but attempted to defend himself on Twitter.
"The student union, whom I trust meant well … have been taken for a ride by a charitable sub group," he wrote. "In response, the students are angry.
"I got a lot to say, answers to [your] questions about why I didn't play the charity gig. … But tune in tomorrow afternoon in my tell all tweet."