The announcement that rapper Wale, the DMV’s pride and joy, was scheduled to perform in a ballet at the Royal Opera House in London this month might have seemed unusual, to say the least. But this was no ordinary ballet—titled Carbon Life, it was a mashup of music and contemporary dance, choreographed by the Royal Ballet’s Wayne McGregor and set to music by super-producer Mark Ronson (who discovered Wale), alt-rock performer Andrew Wyatt, and singer-songwriter Rufus Wainwright. Along with Wale, the performances were billed to feature Boy George, Alison Mosshart of the Kills, Johny Pierce of the Drums, Hero Fisher, and Wale’s protégé, Black Cobain, who would take Wale’s place after opening night.
Unfortunately, opening night came and went on April 5, and Wale wasn’t there. According to Mark Ronson’s press rep, Barbara Charone, and Wale’s own rep, Rich Kleiman, he wasn’t able to make it due to a scheduling conflict. Interestingly enough, Wale was in DC April 9 to perform at the Howard Theatre, the first performer to headline the venue since it closed in 1980. Whether it was hometown pride that summoned him back, or an unwillingness to cross the Atlantic for pirouettes and pointe shoes, remains to be seen. But at least Black Cobain got something out of the trip (beyond performing with the man who gave the world “Karma Chameleon”)—he recorded his latest video for the song “Cheers,” while he was across the pond (and at the gates of Buckingham Palace, no less).