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Miquita Oliver Defends SZA Amid Glastonbury Backlash

Miquita Oliver launched an impassioned defense of R&B star SZA following her headline performance at Glastonbury Festival on Sunday, June 30.

The Grammy-winning artist topped the billing on the final day at Worthy Farm, after Dua Lipa’s Pyramid Stage show on Friday, June 28, and Coldplay’s performance on Saturday, June 29.

At the beginning of SZA’s set, there was a noticeably smaller audience compared to the other two headliners. Her performance clashed with other big acts: French electronic duo Justice on West Holts, James Black on Woodsies, London Grammar on the Park Stage, and The National on the Other Stage. The Independent’s on-site team also reported a surprising number of people leaving the festival site, presumably to beat traffic.

Viewers tuning into the BBC’s coverage shared their surprise at the audience numbers on social media as SZA’s performance began.

Discussing her set on the latest episode of their podcast, Miss Me?, Oliver and her co-host Lily Allen talked about the reaction to the “Kill Bill” star’s show. “It’s such bollocks,” the TV and radio presenter said after Allen repeated the claim that “no one turned up.” Oliver, who previously dismissed Coldplay’s booking as “snoreville,” continued, “People are just such hating bastards. It was a huge f***ing crowd. And you know what, I think because she’s a Black female headliner, the first story they immediately went to was, ‘It was a failure, no one cares.’ F*** off, that wasn’t the truth, she did a bloody brilliant set.”

Oliver also noted the audience was very young, predominantly white, and included a lot of teenage girls. “It was nice to see how much she’s crossed over. I thought SZA did a splendid job, and those unfactual, damaging press reports are dangerous because they’re just trying to block more of what she’s about, being in such a big place.”

“She threatens the status quo,” Allen suggested.

“It’s so depressing,” Oliver added. “It’s like history, who’s telling the history? Who’s telling the stories? What actually went down? I’d rather ask some f***ing ravers who were at Glastonbury about what really popped off.”

Reviewing SZA’s set for The Independent, Jazz Monroe observed how she had “one of the sparsest [headliner crowds] in recent memory but said this did not detract from her performance. “Seemingly acting out her own madcap fairytale on the elaborate set, SZA straddles a giant model ant, grinds a throne-shaped humanoid, twirls dual katanas for a dance sequence, and ascends a lifesize tree trunk in fairy wings before busting into her verse from Drake’s ‘Rich Baby Daddy,’” Monroe wrote in his four-star review. “The choreography is reliably intense, sometimes distracting from the intoxicating melisma and half-rapped confessions that, given her full attention, frequently leave you breathless.”

After her performance, SZA did not address her performance directly other than to thank Glastonbury for the experience. However, she also shared a post on Twitter the day after her set that said: “The bravery required to be alive in public is remarkable. [Shout-out] to everyone doing that s***.”

In the same episode, Allen and Oliver discussed various other topics, including Allen’s new foot fetish venture, their views on England’s impending Euro 2024 quarter-finals match, postnatal depression, and Oliver’s recent stay at the pop singer’s home in New York. Episodes of Miss Me? air on Mondays and Thursdays each week and are available on BBC Sounds and all major streaming services.

Source: The Independent