Erykah Badu

Erykah Badu Facing Criticism For Peforming At Accused Human Rights Abuser’s Party

(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.”

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“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.”

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