Dictators and Pop Stars

Yesterday Canadian pop star Nelly Furtado tweeted that she had performed privately for Gaddafi’s family and had earned US$1 million, but was now feeling so bad that she would donate the money she earned to “an undisclosed charity.” Anyway, her sudden development of a consciousness, made us think 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.

South of the Sahara, Jay-Z has been photographed (above) representing Roc-A-Fella with Pascaline Bongo, daughter of the late Omar Bongo from Gabon. The latter ruled that country for 42 years while crushing any opposition and managing the country’s budget like it was his family’s bank account; The crimes of Omar Bongo’s regime included murder and torture of political opponents.

Pascaline Bongo served in various capacities in her father’s government. In 2009 her brother, Ali Ben, won an election marred by irregularities. 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.

Separetly, 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. Who is today “Artists United Against Apartheid” that shamed musicians who played Sun City in South Africa? Let’s get Steven Van Zandt to rally again. Or just blog about it.



Sean Jacobs and Allison Swank

Sean Jacobs is also known as Hasan Wazan. Allison Swank wrote about film and popular culture for Africa is a Country.

  1. White people raped and murdered blacks, so should we hate you for the past? You people are stupid for writing these things! Rocafella for life

  2. Okay , learnt a lesson with the comments on this post – never mess with Bey and Jay fans/stans.

  3. Not to mention Naomi Campbell and her shady deals with then Liberian President Charles Taylor, indicted on war-crimes charges by the International Criminal Court. For Jay-Z it is understandable, because Omar Bongo was the head of the Freemasons in Africa, so theirs was more like a religious interaction.

  4. @Furthermore: thanks for the correction.
    @busi: indeed.
    @Francis: You’re reading too much bossip.com. haha.

  5. Every day our truth-seeking media tells us which rock star is sleeping with what other rock star, betraying his or her spouse, buying some house with a billion dollars. For my money, I thank Africa is a Country for telling us which of these luminaries would do anything for money including dine with the baddest thieves and cold killers.

  6. Basically Pop stars don’t really give a F**k, it’s all about the money anyway. Would you turn down $1 mill? While the African public flocks to watch these blood suckers on stages across the continent, we dig our own graves of ignorance and further suffering even deeper. So maybe one should think before you buy a ticket to see Jay-Z, Akon or Sean Paul, ask yourself the question what the F**k are they doing in a country whose people can’t even find or afford food, health care and education and whose governments really could not care as they launder the riches of the land for their own benefit and the trauma they have caused generations and future generations to come! Plus who the hell pays $100 for a ticket to see Akon and Sean Paul in ZIMBABWE for freaks sake! And if your government can afford to pay these POP stars millions, why the f**k can’t they find the same amount to develop the countries whose resources and people they continue to rape! I have no respect for these artists, they have not an ounce of moral fibre in them!

  7. I am so disappointed about the celebrities I have so much regards for. They are well informed of the Dictatorial regimes of Africa. Why then would they associate themselves with them. They know how much we are suffering under these people yet with all there fame and money, they help them (Dictators) to rip us off and make us suffer even harder. Patriotic Africans and sympathizers of Africa should boycott their musics.

  8. South African ,mbongi and “Poet of Africa” Zolani Mvika made two Gadaffi
    financed CD’s.The material mostly praises Broher Leader for his support in
    liberating South Africa, and his work to reunite Africa (with Brother Leader as King of Kings),his wisdom etc. etc.It seems that if you pay a praise singer ,you get to hear what you want.

  9. Jay-Zdud not go to Gabon to hang out with ‘dictators’, he was actually on a humanitarian mission as a UN ambassador for the water for life project. Please get your facts right before you publish.

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