Recording artists The Weeknd and Belly made a political statement when they decided to cancel their May 25 appearance on the “Jimmy Kimmel Live!” because Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump was also scheduled to appear on the late night talk show.
In a statement released via the Associated Press, Muslim rapper Belly, real name Ahmad Balshe, felt it wouldn’t be right to share the same space with someone who’s spewed hate.
“I feel like the way I was raised was to be able to see through all the titles in this world – from religion to race. I just didn’t want to feel like I was a part of a celebration for somebody who has beliefs that majority of us don’t agree with,” Belly said.
“I’m here on a campaign of positivity and love and to contribute what I can to music,” the Canadian native added. “I create songs people go to sleep and wake up to, songs that they fall in love to. For me, being Muslim and being somebody that appreciates my access here in America, I love the fact that I’m able to be here. To play my part in this business is a privilege and a beautiful thing. The fact that I could lose that ability through the actions of someone such as Donald Trump isn’t right to me. At all.”
Trump who has called for the “total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States” is just one of many controversial statements said by the nominee. As a result, Trump has few vocal allies in the entertainment industry.
However, he has quite a few vocal opponents in the entertainment industry, including George Clooney:
“That is the real problem with Trump—his ideas bleed into the rest of the world. That he says, ‘I’m gonna find every terrorist, and I’m gonna find their family, and I’m gonna execute them.’ I’m not gonna let him walk away from that. I’m gonna execute a family?!” stated Clooney in a 2015 interview with Esquire. “That’s a war crime of the highest level that no one would do. When you say that, that tells all the other people, Okay, well, if they’re saying that, then why don’t we?”
The Weeknd and Belly have collaborated on numerous records, including “Earned It,” “Often,” and the song they were slated to perform on Jimmy Kimmel’s show—”Might Not.”
The Weeknd, real name Abel Tesfaye, also originally from Canada has found mainstream success in the United States. His latest album, “Beauty Behind the Madness” debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 Chart and earned the singer two Grammy Awards earlier this year. He also collected eight Billboard Music Awards at this year’s event.
Belly is set to release his mixtape “Another Day in Paradise” on Friday.
The cancellation by the pair wasn’t mentioned during Trump’s conversation with Kimmel.