There were cheers from the crowd when Astbury shouted “All lives matter” from the stage, but the comment was quickly disseminated over Twitter, with many attendees, particularly people of colour, commenting that the comments, and the seemingly positive reaction from the crowd, made them feel less safe at Bluesfest.
One attendee commented by email, on condition of anonymity:
The Black Lives Matter movement was started by Patrisse Cullors, Opal Tometi, and Alicia Garza following the 2012 killing of Trayvon Martin. The slogan “All Lives Matter”, as a response to the Black Lives Matter movement, is seen as diminishing or silencing efforts to draw attention to the particular ways that Black individuals in the United States and elsewhere face violence, criminalization, and poverty. As the BLM founders put it, “We’re not saying Black lives are more important than other lives, or that other lives are not criminalized and oppressed in various ways. We remain in active solidarity with all oppressed people who are fighting for their liberation and we know that our destinies are intertwined.”
The Cult later apologized for their comments on Twitter:
— THE CULT (@officialcult) 10 July 2016
However, in the eyes of many, the damage had already been done.
The person who shared their comments with us by email added: