- Halifax Pop Explosion Instagram screenshot
- The black square post that sparked discussion of Halifax Pop Explosion being performative in its public stand against racism.
Then last week, the post started getting renewed attention. Comments underneath the black square expressed concern about HPX being performative in its public stand against racism, or worse: One comment in particular said people of colour in the Halifax music scene had experienced "white supremacist violence organized under [its] festival."
This comment attracted its own attention, in the form of further comments standing in solidarity. And then, comments from the black square post started getting deleted, as if someone with control of the HPX Instagram account was trying to make a growing public relations storm disappear. The fest would later say it was looking into the deletions, posting a follow-up apology that stated, in part, "Our team did not remove the comment and we are actively trying to understand how it was deleted." (For those who aren't giving their thumbs a repetitive strain injury with all the Instagram posting they do, deleting a comment is straightforward if you've got the password to log into an account: You have to swipe right on the comment, then select the trash can icon. In other words it's easy to do, but hard to do accidentally.)
The comments kept pouring in, both from early posters angry their replies were disappearing—and then from members of the Canadian music scene at large. Past fest performers Hua Li and Backxwash both replied to the original post, with the former saying "Accountability needs to be active and ongoing and yet poc members of the Halifax music community consistently report their needs being unheard by this organization." (The latter added on Twitter that artists might be "better off just doing a livestream" if artists of colour can't depend on being treated well or paid enough by HPX.) Haviah Mighty, winner of the 2019 Polaris Prize, chimed in: "Y’all can’t be deleting comments and shit, and pretending the square equates to action..."
- Lex Leosis twitter screenshot
- Toronto rapper Lex Leosis has been the first artist on the fest's 2020 lineup to drop the fest in solidarity.