Pe­ti­tion asks for Kanye West to be re­placed by Cana­dian at Pan Am clos­ing cer­e­mony

Pit­bull and Ser­ena Ry­der also set for show

Cape Breton Post - - ARTS/ENTERTAINMENT - BY PAOLA LORIGGIO

Not ev­ery­one is pleased by the an­nounce­ment that Amer­i­can rap leg­end Kanye West will per­form at the clos­ing cer­e­mony of the Pan Am Games in Toronto.

An online pe­ti­tion ask­ing the or­ga­niz­ing com­mit­tee to change its mind had gar­nered more than 30,000 sup­port­ers as of late Thurs­day night on change.org.

By way of con­trast, a pe­ti­tion call­ing for the re­in­state­ment of a con­ser­va­tion of­fi­cer in B.C. who was fired for re­fus­ing to kill two or­phaned bear cubs had more than 240,000 sig­na­tures.

The pe­ti­tion against West’s ap­pear­ance says the Games have trig­gered a sense of pride in the city, and the pe­ti­tion aims sim­ply “to ask a proud Toron­to­nian (or even a Cana­dian for that mat­ter) to per­form in­stead on July 26.”

Among those sug­gested in the pe­ti­tion are Drake, Walk Off The Earth, Feist and Met­ric.

“Kanye West’s words and con­duct are an­ti­thet­i­cal to the spirit of the PanAm Games,” one per­son wrote on the pe­ti­tion. “Canada abounds in mu­si­cal tal­ent that is un­doubt­edly bet­ter-suited for this event and should be fea­tured at the clos­ing cer­e­monies.”

Not ev­ery­one agreed. News that West would ap­pear at the Games was met with ju­bi­la­tion by some of his Toronto fans.

“PRAISE YEEZUS!” ex­alted one fan on Face­book in ref­er­ence to West’s last al­bum.

Toronto rap­per Mae­stro, who per­formed at the open­ing cer­e­monies, also noted that West is an in­ter­na­tional phe­nom­e­non.

“It would have been nice to see a Cana­dian but you know what, that’s a sta­ple for hip hop right there, so a shoutout to Kanye, a shoutout to Canada,” he said on CBC TV.

The head of the Games or­ga­niz­ing com­mit­tee said it’s too late to change the lineup - the con­tracts have al­ready been signed through Live Na­tion, a con­cert pro­moter and Pan Am spon­sor.

Saad Rafi de­fended the de­ci­sion to book West, say­ing “ma­jor in­ter­na­tional-cal­i­bre events have in­ter­na­tional artists.”

“Let’s not for­get, these are the Pan Amer­i­can Games, which in­clude the Amer­i­cas and the Caribbean. It’s highly ap­pro­pri­ate to have artists from those coun­tries of ori­gin,” he said.

Rafi stressed that clos­ing cer­e­monies are meant “pre­dom­i­nantly for ath­letes” rather than the gen­eral public, adding that sev­eral ath­letes work out to West’s mu­sic.

Mayor John Tory, mean­time, made head­lines by wish­ing aloud that or­ga­niz­ers had cho­sen a Cana­dian for West’s slot - but only af­ter he had to con­cede that, un­til now, he’d some­how be­lieved the iconic rap­per and hus­band to re­al­ity su­per­star Kim Kar­dashian was Cana­dian.

On Thurs­day, Tory tweeted a minute-long video pok­ing fun at his ig­no­rance, say­ing: “Yeezus, can’t be­lieve I didn’t know KimKar­dashian’s hus­band wasn’t Cana­dian!”

In the video, West’s song “Stronger” plays as the strait­laced Tory grooves to the mu­sic, his head mov­ing like a bob­ble­head doll, as he waits on a sub­way plat­form wear­ing a suit and tie with a red maple leaf hat, ear­phones and sun­glasses.

He then takes a seat on the train and leafs through a news­pa­per un­til he comes to a hid­den Rolling Stone mag­a­zine with the fa­mously volup­tuous Kar­dashian on the cover.

West will be joined at the July 26 show by Mi­ami pop-rap­per Pit­bull and six-time Juno-win­ning singer Ser­ena Ry­der.

“Let’s not for­get, these are the Pan Amer­i­can Games, which in­clude the Amer­i­cas and the Caribbean. It’s highly ap­pro­pri­ate to have artists from those coun­tries of ori­gin.”

Saad Rafi, or­ga­niz­ing com­mit­tee

Kanye West per­forms dur­ing the World AIDS Day (RED) con­cert In Times Square in 2014. Not ev­ery­one is pleased by the an­nounce­ment that Amer­i­can rap leg­end Kanye West will per­form at the clos­ing cer­e­mony of the Pan Am Games in Toronto. An online pe­ti­tion ask­ing the or­ga­niz­ing com­mit­tee to change its mind has found sup­port­ers.

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