Erykah Badu Under Fire for Performing at Birthday for King of Swaziland
Posted by Jeffrey Harris on 04.30.2014
Badu receives criticisms from civil rights activists…
The Dallas Morning News reports that Erykah Badu is receiving criticism from human rights activists for her recent performance at the birthday party of Swaziland's King Mswati III.
US-based Human Rights Foundation's Alex Gladstein said in a statement, "She owes us all an explanation. The king is a kleptocrat who lives in the lap of obscene luxury while most of his countrymen toil in abject poverty for less than $2 a day."
The singer sang "Happy Birthday" for Mswati for his 46th birthday. He is currently considered Africa's last absolute monarch.
Badu defended herself saying that the performance was being done as a favor for American jeweler Jacob Arabo, who was throwing the party for the king and needed a last-minute replacement for a performer who dropped out. Badu was recording her sixth studio album in South Africa and went on a helicopter to go to the show. She claimed she sang a song at the stadium, gave Mswati a gift and then went to stay at a friend's house.
Mswati is notoriously known for his practice of polygamy. He married his 15th wife last year and reportedly lives a lavish lifestyle that is currently at-odds with the rest of the country. Per the United Nations, 63% of Swaziland lives on less than $1.25 a day. There have also been allegations of rights abuses toward his regime.
Badu also posted the following messages in defense of her actions on her Twitter account:
@ThorHalvorssen I was not paid by the KING. I had no idea of the political climate. How could I? Why would I know this ? You are an idiot .