Nelly Furtado tweeted yesterday afternoon that she had performed privately for Gaddafi’s family, and would donate the $1 million that she earned from the event to “an undisclosed charity.” We wondered why she did not give the money to the embattled opposition-run cities inside Libya.
Anyway, her sudden development of a consciousness, made us wonder about all those other American artists who have lent their star power to African dictators.
In the last week, mainstream media (and blogs) have reminded us that 50 Cent, Mariah Carey, Usher, and Beyoncé have also performed privately for Gaddafi’s family in the past. When reps for Carey, Usher, and Beyoncé were asked by Rolling Stone Magazine to comment on the shows, they either declined to comment or did not return phone calls.
Further south, Jay-Z has been photographed representing Roc-A-Fella with the daughter of the late Omar Bongo from Gabon (who ruled that country for 42 years while crushing any opposition; The crimes of Omar Bongo’s regime included murder and torture of political opponents). That’s Jay Z and Pascaline throwing up for Roc-A-Fella above.
Pascaline Bongo served in various capacities in her father’s government. In 2009 her brother, Ali Ben, won an election marred by irregularities. The Bongos treat government like the family business. Ali Ben appointed Pascaline as a senior presidential aide. The country has been the scene of protests the last few weeks.
Bongo’s daughter-in-law also rented a house in Los Angeles from Puff Daddy. Rapper Eve spent a fair amount of time dating Teodoro Nguema Obiang, the son of Equitorial Guinea’s questionable leader. Like his father, Eve’s ex was/is also under suspicion of corruption. Then there’s Akon’s endorsement of Senegal’s unpopular president, Abdoulaye Wade.
We could go on and on citing links between dictators and pop stars.What happened to the moralled “Artists United Against Apartheid” that shamed musicians who played Sun City in South Africa? Let’s get Steven Van Zandt to rally again.
* Written by Allison Swank and Sean Jacobs