V100 Concert artists criticize NYU ties to Israel, suspensions

R&B singer Kelela and rapper redveil condemned recent disciplinary action against students and faculty as well as the university’s ties to Israel during the annual concert.
A woman holds a microphone above her head.
Kelela.(Krish Dev for WSN)
Krish Dev

While over a thousand students stood in the crowd to watch headliners Kelela and JPEGMAFIA perform at NYU’s annual V100 Concert, Kelela and guest artist redveil criticized the university’s disciplinary action policies and ties to Israel, also voicing support for Palestinians. The concert took place at Terminal 5 in Hell’s Kitchen.

In the middle of her performance, Kelela criticized disciplinary action NYU has taken against staff and students and its study-away site in Tel Aviv. She also condemned BlackRock CEO Larry Fink’s presence on NYU’s Board of Trustees, noting the trillion-dollar investment management firm’s operations in Israel and investments in weapons manufacturers.

“All this to say, these factors combined have created an unsafe environment for Palestinian and pro-Palestinian voices at NYU, and more critically contribute directly to the mass slaughter of civilians — that’s that shit I really don’t like,” Kelela said. “Free Palestine, that’s what we’re going to do. Free Palestine, cease-fire now.”

Right before JPEGMAFIA’s performance of “Kingdom Hearts Key,” the artist invited redveil, who is featured in the song, on stage. Redveil then asked students to say “free Palestine,” also criticizing NYU’s disciplinary action policies and voicing support for the university’s chapter of Students for Justice in Palestine.

“I’m going to echo everything the amazing fucking Kelela just said,” redveil said. “Y’all school is complicit in this shit, they censor people, so this what y’all need to fucking do alright, like she said, y’all gotta demand them to fucking unsuspend the students, the faculty that has been suspended for speaking out about this shit.”

A man wearing a white scarf and a pair of white trousers sings to the audience with a microphone in his right hand.
redveil. (Krish Dev for WSN)

The concert is funded in part by the NYU Program Board, a student organization that plans programming and events throughout the year. Andrea Cacho, co-chair of concerts at the Program Board, said that the group had a budget of $50,000 allocated by the university. The Program Board also received around $70,000 from the Student Government Assembly out of its $335,000 budget for Violet 100, NYU’s official spirit week.

“We’ve been working on the concert since early December and it’s been difficult because this year we had a smaller budget than anticipated,” Cacho said. “It’s always tricky trying to get an artist that everyone will like or that can please the general NYU population. It’s a whole process and it’s very tedious.”

Senior and NYU Program Board concert committee member Gillian Greenlaw supported the artists’ statements regarding the Israel-Hamas war. 

“I appreciate that they both made those statements in their own voices and it feels critical that these conversations are had,” Greenlaw said.

Kelela followed reggaeton singer Isabella Lovestory and student opener DJ Synchro with songs from her two albums, “Take Me Apart” and “Raven,” as well as remixes from “RAVE:N, The Remixes,” which came out last month. 

A woman wearing a black top and two metal necklaces sings into a microphone on a stage.
Kelela. (Krish Dev for WSN)
A woman poses with her arms in the air.

In the rest of his performance, JPEGMAFIA performed some of his most viral songs, including “1539 N. Calvert,” “SCARING THE HOES” and “Baby I’m Bleeding.” He also covered “Call Me Maybe” by Carly Rae Jepsen a cappella.

A man wearing a leather jacket and black gloves bends down and sings into a microphone.
JPEGMAFIA. (Krish Dev for WSN)
A man wearing a leather jacket sings into a microphone.

NYU senior Alberto Lugo — stage name DJ Synchro — opened the event. DJ Synchro played mixes of popular songs such as “Hips Don’t Lie” by Shakira, “DNA.” by Kendrick Lamar, “Drunk in Love” by Beyoncé, closing out on “U Don’t Have To Call” by Usher.  

“Performing with big artists is a blessing,” Lugo told WSN. “I was literally a nobody from Brooklyn at 13 years old. I didn’t know shit about DJing. I didn’t know shit about production. To be here at this moment is such a big deal because this is literally me living out my dreams, this is me making this happen for real from the ground up.”

A man holds a flag of the Dominican Republic.
DJ Synchro. (Krish Dev for WSN)
A man speaks into a microphone behind a DJ set.

Following Lugo’s set, Lovestory took to the stage. Many students had looked forward to the artist’s appearance at the event, according to Cacho.

“A lot of people are excited,” Cacho said. “I was so not surprised, but I was so happy to see that there are a bunch of Isabella Lovestory fans at NYU because I’m a huge fan of hers and she’s on the smaller side.”

A person wearing a cap and sunglasses sings into a microphone.
Isabella Lovestory. (Krish Dev for WSN)
A woman looks over her shoulder.

Lovestory danced and asked students to do the same as she performed songs from her studio album “Amor Hardcore,” an unreleased track and her hit single “Mariposa.” 

“It is such a fun song and she made it so much fun,” first-year Chloe Stone said. “My friends and I knew the words because that’s one of her most famous songs and so a lot of us were singing along to that song. She walked up to us since we were near the front and we were able to kind of sing with her — it felt like she was singing directly to us.”

An NYU spokesperson did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Contact Krish Dev at [email protected].

Leave a comment

Comments (0)

Comments that are deemed spam or hate speech by the moderators will be deleted.
All Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *