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Toronto rapper criticized for filming music video atop war memorial

A Toronto rapper has been receiving some flak this week for shooting a music video atop a war memorial in Fort York, but the artist is standing by his decision and insists he meant no disrespect. 

Rapper Billy Burnz shared a music video teaser for his new song Tik Tok on Instagram earlier this week, and it shows four women dancing on the Toronto Garrison Afghanistan LAV III Monument.

The memorial, which is located one the lawns of the Fort York Armoury, was installed in 2018 and is Toronto's only monument dedicated to the 40,000 Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) who served and the 162 Canadians who lost their lives during the conflict in Afghanistan. 

After Burnz shared the initial video, some people commented to say that it was insensitive and disrespectful towards Canada's veterans.

"I Get This Might Be Distasteful To Some, But No Disrespect Was Meant... So I Will Not Be Taking The Video Down," wrote the artist in response.

Many of the negative comments have since been deleted from the original post. Burnz also shared a lengthy video in which he defended his decision and asked viewers to wait until the full video is released before making any assumptions.

Burnz later told the Toronto Sun that he received permission from staff on-site to film atop the monument after being denied entry into one of the buildings, adding that staff told him he could do whatever he wanted, as long as he wasn't destroying it.

"We meant no disrespect, we are simply creating art," he said.

"When the full video is finished, you'll see that this was a clip of a bigger project that's yet to be released. We will have an actual veteran in the official video, to show that we meant no disrespect to the Canadian armed forces or anybody that has actually fought in any war."

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