Black Artists Accused of Taking 'Blood Money' From Libya

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From Rolling Stone:

According to reports by the New York Times and a document obtained by WikiLeaks, several pop stars including Mariah Carey, Beyoncé, Usher and Lionel Richie have taken lucrative gigs performing for the members of Libyan dictator Muammar al-Qaddafi's family.


Yesterday the Times reported that Qaddafi's son Muatassim, Libya's national security adviser, had hired Beyoncé and Usher to entertain at his New Year's Eve party in St. Barts. Another Qaddafi son, Seif al-Islam el-Qaddafi, reportedly paid Carey $1 million to sing four songs at the previous year's New Year's party, also in St. Barts.

The artists are being criticized for accepting money from a violent and oppressive regime. Well, yes, ideally, entertainers would do their homework and conduct ethics checks for every performance, but they're pop stars, not international-affairs experts (and, in some cases, not even college graduates). Plus, Libya was officially "welcomed back into the U.S. fold" in 2008. While it's fun to point fingers at celebs and their flashy performances, we would do better to look elsewhere — like at ourselves and our elected officials — when trying to figure out what role the U.S. had in the nightmare that is playing out under Qaddafi's rule.

Read more at Rolling Stone.

In other news: The Root Recommends: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar's 'On the Shoulders of Giants.'


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