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Mission Creek headliner Cakes da Killa pushes back against racism and homophobia on the streets of Iowa City


Rapper Cakes da Killa performs at Gabe’s as part of the Mission Creek Festival on Thursday, April 5. — photo by Zak Neumann

Brooklyn rapper Cakes da Killa, in town for the Mission Creek Festival this week, experienced verbal harrassment after his show Thursday night, Afropunk reported. Their story followed a video Cakes da Killa posted on his Instagram around 4 a.m. Friday, showing the artist chasing an unknown individual down Burlington Street. He was unable to catch his assailant, joking on his post, “I gotta get back to the gym.”

The incident, in which the performer was on the receiving end of racist and homophobic slurs, began in the Dubuque Street Ramp.

“I was in the car park of my hotel talking to some friends and all of a sudden I hear ‘fucking n—–’ so loud I thought it was on a sound system,” Rashard Bradshaw, who performs as Cakes da Killa, told Afropunk.

He responded, “Who said that?”, and the slur was repeated. Cakes then moved to the edge of the garage to try to see who was shouting at him. He described the man to Afropunk as “a white male, 5’8, cap on def listens to more hip hop than me.”

“Anyway, I start yelling at him, he calls me a f—-t,” Cakes continued the story. “I run up the stairs to get to him on the street cause I’m underground and he books it. Like track runner books it. What really made me mad was the fact that when I reached the top of the stairs he turned around and said, ‘You’re not about to catch me.’ Soooooo gym membership in full effect.”

Cakes da Killa has received an outpouring of support on social media, including from Iowa Citians.

Mission Creek Festival Director Andre Perry delivered the festival’s formal response through their Facebook post (above) and told Little Village that he had also contacted Cakes via voicemail and text to express the festival’s gratitude and regret.

“It’s deeply unfortunate,” Perry said of the incident, adding that he felt “personally embarrassed” to host artists in town and have them subjected to such treatment. But, he said, “It’s not something we can walk away from or shy away from.”

Perry also stated that the situation “hurts on a very personal level … as a person of color.” He said that the atmosphere at Cakes da Killa’s show on Thursday night was very welcoming and affirming, and that the incident of harassment “undercut” that.

“If you’re black or queer, it’s just a reminder that there’s not a lot of safety, wherever you are,” he said.

He looks forward from the incident positively, though.

“We will make sure that Cakes knows that there’s a home for him here in Iowa City,” he said.


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