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Drake apologizes to fans for TIFF no-show, but offers little explanation

Drake offered his apologies to moviegoers at the Toronto International Film Festival on Thursday, but gave little explanation as to why he bailed on his opening night event in the first place.

In a video message that substituted for his original plans to speak in person Thursday night, Drake immediately acknowledged he left some fans high and dry after they paid more than $100 for tickets to the Canadian premiere of “Monsters and Men.”

“I wish I could be there to share this moment,” he said in a brief video introduction for the film.

“Unfortunately I’m on tour right now.”

That was the extent of his reasoning for why he pulled out of the event with only hours notice.

TIFF organizers announced the Toronto-based rapper as a guest a mere two weeks ago, which meant his tour schedule had already been in place for months.

A representative for Drake declined to offer further explanation.

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The rapper also thanked “Monsters and Men” director Reinaldo Marcus Green, as well as a company that created merchandise for the film.

“I’m just very excited and honoured to be part of something that continues a conversation in this day in age,” he said of the film, which follows the aftermath of a police shooting that kills a black man in Brooklyn.

The storyline tracks various people affected by the shooting, including someone who captured the incident on his phone, a teenager with a promising baseball career who’s grappling with the political fallout and a police officer who weighs his values and his loyalty to the force.

“I think it’s an extremely, extremely important moment and an important movie, and I hope you guys love it as much as I do,” Drake said of the film.

The rapper’s withdrawal from TIFF’s opening night shifted attention away from the film’s timely political themes and towards his unexpected absence.

It’s the second time in the past month Drake has cancelled on Toronto.

In August, he pulled out of his first tour date in the city “due to scheduling commitments” and has yet to announce a new date for ticket holders.

Drake’s website listed Thursday as a night off for the rapper, after a show in Montreal on Wednesday and ahead of a concert in Boston on Friday.

David Friend, The Canadian Press

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