Ani DiFranco has opted out of her scheduled appearance on tonight’s Late Show With David Letterman (CBS) after being told by the show’s representatives that she couldn’t perform her song “Subdivision.”
The song, which appears on her latest album Revelling/Reckoning, is a commentary on racial tensions in America, and opens with the line: “White people are so scared of black people they bulldoze out to the country.”
According to a spokeswoman for DiFranco, members of the show’s staff approached the singer-songwriter last week and insisted that she instead perform the more “upbeat” song “Heartbreak.”
DiFranco responded by asking to reschedule her appearance for a time when the song’s tempo might better fit the show. That request was denied, leaving her to suspect that “Subdivision”‘s lyrics were more of problem than the song’s tempo. DiFranco then decided to pass on the appearance altogether.
“As a matter of principle and a privilege of her hard-earned independence, Ani does not perform songs on demand,” says her spokeswoman.