Nigerian Afropop singer Yemi Alade denied Canadian visa ahead of festival performance

She was the scheduled headliner for the closing night of the Festival International Nuits d'Afrique.

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Nigerian Afropop singer Yemi Alade was set to perform at a festival in Canada over the weekend but her visa application was rejected just as she was set to arrive in the country, CTV News reports. 

Alade, 33, was the scheduled headliner for the closing night of the Festival International Nuits d’Afrique in Montreal on Sunday but the visa application of the singer (and her band members) was denied due to concerns that her group wouldn’t leave Canada after performing, according to festival co-founder Suzanne Rousseau.

2018 Essence Street  Style Festival
Yemi Alade performs at the 2018 Essence Street Style Festival on Sept. 9, 2018, in Brooklyn, New York. (Photo by Dave Kotinsky/Getty Images for Essence)

“Finally, we got an answer saying the musicians were refused, saying they have to guarantee that they have enough financial means that will make them go back to their country,” Rousseau said.

Rousseau noted that it hasn’t always been easy to arrange visas for Nuits d’Afrique, but said this year was extremely challenging.

“I know when they’re from Africa, it’s not easy to get them here and never guaranteed,” she said.

After Alade’s performance was canceled, Zambia-born Australian artist Sampa the Great was tapped to take her place. 

Alade had announced in a July 22 Twitter post that she would not be closing out the festival.

“I’m so sad ! I will not be headlining the Festival in Montreal as announced for July 24th .I’m trully sorry. TILL NEXT TIME Canada,” she wrote.

One Twitter user commented, “You shouldn’t stay silent. Change happens when people act. With your influence, you should inform the Nigerian ambassador or Interior minister, both of whom I hope will formally file a complaint. Trust me, this is how we get respected and next time they’ll be careful.”

This year’s Festival International Nuits d’Afrique featured a wide range of restaurants, bars, and various activities as well as free outdoor concerts and workshops, MTL Blog reports.  Hundreds of musicians performed at the event, which took place from July 19 to 24 in the Quartier des Spectacles, Montreal’s major cultural district.

The event aimed to showcase “the very heart of African, Caribbean and Latin American music and cultures,” the organizers said, according to MTL Blog.

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