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Spotify’s new refugee-themed playlist is being criticised by some people for being in bad taste

Playlist features artists who themselves were born outside the US and fled their home countries

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 31 January, 2017, 11:22am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 31 January, 2017, 11:25am

Spotify released a 20-song homage to global artists, called “The Refugee Playlist,” in the wake of a travel ban. It quickly drew charges of poor-taste from some observers.

President Donald Trump signed an executive order that restricted people from seven majority-Muslim countries from entering the US, in an effort to keep out “radical Islamic terrorists.” The ban sparked protests in cities around the world over the weekend.

Tech executives from Google cofounder Sergey Brin to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckberg also chimed in, expressing a range of emotions over how restrictions on immigration might affect the global tech industry.

Not to be outdone, Spotify released a refugee-themed playlist on Monday. It includes such classics as “We Are The Champions,” from British rock band Queen, and new hits including “Wavin’ Flag” by Somali Canadian artist K’Naan and “Better” from Soviet-born Regina Spektor.

The tracks come from artists who were born outside the US and fled their home countries. 

“In a world that welcomes refugees, we get world-changing music from artists like these,” the playlist description read.

Some names might come as a surprise. Queen’s Freddie Mercury and his family escaped a bloody revolution on the African island of Zanzibar in the 1960s. Maya Arulpragasam, better known as the rapper M.I.A., fled violence in Sri Lanka when she was 9.

The playlist received mixed reactions on Twitter. Some found the playlist to be in poor taste.

While others thought the playlist was uplifting and inspiring.

A spokesperson for Spotify told Business Insider, “We put together this playlist as a celebration of music from artists who were once refugees.”

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