Muslim Canadian rapper Belly was supposed to perform with The Weeknd on Jimmy Kimmel Live Wednesday night, but when he realized Donald Trump was a fellow guest on the show, he canceled.
Belly, whose real name is Ahmad Balshe, is a Palestinian who hails from the West Bank and grew up in the Canadian capital of Ottawa. He was set to appear on the show with The Weeknd, whose parents immigrated from East Africa to Canada.
As reported by Salon, the rapper was due to star with the R&B star The Weeknd on Jimmy Kimmel Live to promote his upcoming album Another Day in Paradise, and the duo were set to perform their hit “Might Not.”
However, once Belly realized Donald Trump was the main guest on the show that night, he canceled the coveted appearance in protest, saying he preferred to focus on “positivity and love.”
— teleSUR English (@telesurenglish) May 26, 2016
Trump, who has now crossed the threshold of delegates needed to become the Republican Party’s presidential nominee, has been pushing to build support among working class white voters. To do that, he railed against Mexicans, Muslims, and other groups.
When a Pakistani couple carried out the attack in California that killed 14 people, The Donald immediately called for an indefinite ban on the entry of all foreign Muslims into the United States, based on their religion.
Belly said for him, being Muslim and being someone who appreciates his access in America, he loves the fact that he is able to be there.
An extract from a statement released by Belly’s publicist reads, “A strong believer in equal right for all, Belly is taking a stand against a man who has made many negative and detrimental remarks about minorities, women, various religious groups and more.”
— ET Canada (@ETCanada) May 26, 2016
The statement continued by saying Belly feels like the way he was raised “was to be able to see through all the titles in this world — from religion to race.”
He said he doesn’t want to feel that he is part of a celebration for somebody who has beliefs the majority of people don’t agree with.
“To play my part in this business is a privilege and a beautiful thing. The fact that I could lose that ability through the actions of someone such as Donald Trump isn’t right to me. At all,” he stressed.
As an example, if Trump’s temporary ban on all Muslims was imposed, a Canadian Muslim like Belly would then be prohibited from traveling to Los Angeles to perform on Jimmy Kimmel Live or any other show.
— Pitchfork (@pitchfork) May 26, 2016
As reported by News 18, Belly has been going places recently and helped write the Toronto R&B singer The Weeknd’s breakthrough album, Beauty Behind the Madness. He was also signed last year by the Roc Nation label of hip-hop mogul Jay Z.
He has drawn increasing interest in the hip-hop world amid a wave of international success for Canadian musicians, mostly notably Drake, who is one of the top-earning rappers in the past two years.
With Belly and The Weeknd no longer appearing on Wednesday’s show, jazz singer Gregory Porter was brought in instead as the musical performer on Jimmy Kimmel Live, a show that is highly prized by artists wishing to promote their work to a wider viewership.
Reportedly, Kimmel made no mention of the cancellation during Wednesday’s show.
As everyone lost out on hearing the song “Might Not” on Jimmy Kimmel Live, readers can watch Belly performing the song with The Weeknd in the video included below. Warning: There is some strong language.
[Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images]