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#MeToo impact - 7 prominent Carnatic singers banned from important festival

October 29, 2018

The impact of the #MeToo movement against sexual harassment of women has had its latest impact. The Madras Music Academy has barred seven artistes from performing in the prestigious Margazhi festival in Chennai this year. The festival is held in December every year.

This is after well-known singer Chinmayi Sripaada spoke out against lyricist Vairamuthuon Twitter earlier this week. Soon, many other artistes came forward to accuse other prominent musicians in the academy.

Speaking to the media, the academy said it cannot "remain silent on what's happening" and decided to act after speaking to "unbiased people in the industry."

Sripada later too to Twitter to annouce her reaction:

Thank you for giving cognisance to victims Music Academy. Thank you for leading by example. - Chimayi Sripada, Singer

Among the seven are prominent singers like O S Thyagarajan and Chitraveena N Ravikiran,, who is a vocalist-cum-instrumentalist. Ravikiran said he would not perform until his name was cleared. He tweeted, "Taking a stance to suspend my performances until I can clear the air to my satisfaction."

The academy's response has come in for praise from many prominent Chennai residents. Among them is veteran journalist N Ram, who said, "The Music Academy, Chennai acts quickly, applying just & transparent criteria in positive response to #MeToo."

Other Carnatic musicians such as T M Krishna and Swarnamalya Ganesh have promised to prevent sexual harassment in Carnatic circles, and create a safe environment for upcoming artistes.

The #MeToo movement was sparked off in India after former Tanushree Dutta accused veteran actor Nana Patekar of harassing her on a film set 10 years ago.

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