(Erykah Badu performs onstage 15 March 2014 in Austin; Roger Kisby—Getty Images)
The misuse of star power by Erykah Badu referred to in an earlier post got a nice follow up according to the opinion piece posted by Thor Halvorssen and Alex Gladstein in TIME of 2 May 2014. After recalling in detail her singing for the Swazi absolute monarch [https://thoolen.wordpress.com/2014/04/30/another-case-of-misused-star-power-erykah-badu-performs-for-swaziland-dictator/], the authors describe Badu’s defensive and sometimes offensive comments in the social media:
“The PR disaster unfolded on Twitter. Badu first brushed HRF and other human rights groups aside, retweeting a comment that she “owes nobody an explanation of why she performed in Swaziland.” After her timeline began to erupt with commentary, she started attacking her critics. She called an Africanist at the Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice and Human Rights a “monkey” and others “idiots.” She proceeded to tweet that she would even play in North Korea for “the people.” When asked about the activists that were jailed for wearing t-shirts with political slogans, she replied that “treason is a crime in any country.” When a Swazi told Badu that he was “directly affected by Mswati’s oppression,” she fired back, saying “U on twitter tho, oppressing me.”
Rather than taking a break, Badu spent a solid eight hours tweeting non-stop at anyone and everyone who brought up her appearance in Swaziland. She failed to disclose that she was brought there by Jacob Arabo, a convicted felon who spent years in U.S. federal prison for lying to federal investigators after being accused of laundering hundreds of millions of dollars of drug money” ….
“If Badu bristles under criticism for entertaining King Mswati, she’ll really be frustrated by the world’s reaction when she performs at a concert this May sponsored by the dictator of The Gambia. After seizing power in 1994 military coup, Yahya Jammeh is best known for spending millions of dollars on private parties, for promising to inflict “the ultimate penalty” on homosexuals, for warning the UN that gays are “a threat to human existence,” for claiming that he can cure AIDS in three days, and for executing and disappearing hundreds of his critics. After her Swazi quagmire, perhaps Badu will reconsider her scheduled performance in The Gambia, where she would provide cover for yet another despot, this one a lot more murderous than King Mswati.”
The authors list other stars who gave in to money and ignorance, comparing them to those who use their star power more wisely. See also: http://thoolen.wordpress.com/2014/02/10/star-power-and-human-rights-a-difficult-but-doable-mix/