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August 5, 2015 4:46 pm

Pharrell Williams Concerts in South Africa Face Disruption From BDS Activists

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Pharrell Williams. Credit: The Bull Pen via

Pharrell Williams. Credit: The Bull Pen via Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement activists plan to disrupt concerts by American Grammy-winning singer and producer Pharrell Williams in South Africa next month due to Williams’s promotional deal with the Woolworths retailer, which trades with Israel.

Williams is currently involved with Woolworths on its “Are You With Us?” campaign as its style director on several sustainability-focused projects involving fashion and fundraising for education.

“He is about to face the biggest backlash any artist has faced in South Africa in over 30 years, since the days of apartheid,” said Braam Hanekom, a BDS South Africa board member, Reuters reported.

“He is walking into a very angry, unhappy environment because he has chosen to walk with Woolworths,” Hanekom added, noting that protesters could block roads on concert nights and rally inside concert venues.

Meanwhile, representatives of Grand West Casion, the venue for Williams’s Cape Town concert, said they will not allow any protests on their property. Another concert will be helped in Johannesburg. Williams himself has not yet addressed the BDS issue.

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