Erykah Badu Criticized After Performing for African King Accused of Tyranny, Financial Corruption
Sometimes even socially-conscious artists get accused of doing the wrong thing. And that's exactly what happened to soul singer Erykah Badu when she sang 'Happy Birthday' for King Mswati III, the leader of the South African country Swaziland.
Badu stopped in Swaziland while on tour, and right after the performance, the Human Rights Foundation spoke out and questioned why the singer would perform for such a controversial figure. Mswati III's often been accused of being a money hungry tyrant who lives in extreme wealth while many of his people suffer in poverty.
"She owes us all an explanation," said Alex Gladstein, who's responsible for HRF's strategy and development. "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."
Soon after, the 'On & On' performer spoke with the Dallas Morning News and said her true fans know that she didn't have any ill intentions when singing for the king -- she was unaware of the political climate in Swaziland.
Plus, Badu said she takes Gladstein's comments with a grain of salt, since he's not out meeting and touching the people in the same way that she is.
"I don't keep up with current events. I'm touring eight months out of the year," Badu stated. "I wish I was more educated, and I am also not so quick to judge before I find out any information. I was in attendance with half of the citizens of Swaziland, who cheered him on, and shared a stage with 20 performers, and all of them were Swazi."