(AllHipHop News) Soul singer Erykah Badu is catching heat from the Human Rights Foundation for singing “Happy Birthday” to Swaziland’s King Mswati III. The organization calls Mswati a “corrupt tyrant.”
“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,” said HRF’s Alex Gladstein said in a statement.
Badu spoke with The Dallas Morning News about her performance and the HRF’s response:
I don’t keep up with current events [in Swaziland]. I’m touring eight months out of the year. I wish I was more educated — and I am also not so quick to judge before I find out any information,” said Badu. “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.
I want to address the people, not a group or a government agency. The people know I was not endorsing the king or helping to further his political agenda. I have no agenda. I went into a situation not completely knowing the political climate of the kingdom. 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. Anything I do is because I am a human being, and I am for the people.
This is an opportunity for groups claiming they are for the rights of humans to shine a spotlight on this situation using me as a tool. The people that I’ve walked with for the past 15 years know who I am and how I move and need no explanation. The people who don’t know won’t understand anyway, so why explain?
Badu added there is not a place on the planet she will not go, and she sees “freedom ahead for those enslaved and the slave masters.”