Erykah Badu’s recent vacation to Southeast Africa is getting everyone super salty. Why? She went to Swaziland to perform at the 46th birthday of the country’s King, Mswati III, a known violator of human rights who has been accused of using torture and unwarranted arrests to incite fear in his people.
Ms. Badu, being the strong, intelligent, and righteous woman that we’ve come to know and love her for, explained the situation. She went on to disclose that the service was done as a favor for Jacob the Jeweler and that she wasn’t actually paid by anyone for her appearance. She was merely the messenger that sang happy birthday for the friend of a friend .
Badu later debunked any claims that her brief appearance would do anything to bolster or give legitimacy to Mswati III’s political rule or ideology:
“I went into a situation not completely knowing [Swaziland's] political climate,” Badu told the Dallas Morning News. “[But] I can’t be held responsible for the situation in the kingdom, because I signed up as an artist, not as a political activist. I don’t belong to anyone or to anything … And all the money that I got from the trip I gave to all the servants in the house.”
Though she claims she gave up the bread, at the end of the day, we like our heroes to represent certain ideals and to represent them 100% of the time, no matter the setting or circumstances.
Erykah is definitely not the first violator in this sphere. Take Kanye’s recent performance at a Kazakhstani birthday party for the daughter of that country’s leader who boasts an equally debatable rap-sheet. Hell, even Snoop admitted in jest that he partied with Muammar Gaddafi’s brother on a boat in one of the latest episodes of his show, GGN.
Another layer of this story is that Swaziland’s Princess Sikhanyiso sings and raps … just like Badu. Maybe the King wanted to do something nice for her, and decided to bring in someone that could inspire her to pursue her career in music? Don’t know how that’s gonna go for her, but if you are interested, peep the video for her 2013 release “Hail Your Majesty” below.