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Erykah Badu’s personal decision to celebrate the birthday of Swaziland King Mswati III has angered human rights activists worldwide. Apparently his royal highness carries the reputation of a “brutal dictator” and Fat Belly Bella was giving him a subliminal co-sign for accommodating his presence.

Via The Guardian:

Human rights activists have accused Erykah Badu of “endorsing a brutal dictator” by performing at the 46th birthday celebration of Swaziland’s King Mswati III.

Badu was invited to Mswati’s birthday concert by celebrity goldsmith Jacob “the Jeweller” Arabov, who asked her to sing Happy Birthday in an arena packed with thousands of people. “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.”

The Human Rights Foundation and the Robert F Kennedy Centre for Justice and Human Rights in the US have led the criticism of Badu’s performance, protesting that “despite a carefully crafted image of American civil rights activism, Badu [is praising] Africa’s last absolute monarch, a strongman who imprisons dissidents.” Mswati III has banned political parties in his country, imprisoning and torturing activists. Every year he selects a new wife from among tens of thousands of bare-breasted virgins. And despite his rumoured personal fortune of $100m (£64m), Swaziland is one of the world’s poorest nations.

While Badu did receive a fee for performing at Mswati’s party, she says she donated the money to “the servants in [his] house”.

“And so the servants can live happily [ever] after as servants 4 a dictator?” asked one critic. “I don’t know,” Badu replied, “but they can eat today.”

And anyone who truly knows Ms. Badu should expect her not to bend to threats and have a witty response to all of them. Which, she did not disappont.

Run through the gallery to see her highlight responses to various members of the peanut gallery as well as few shots of the great King with a few of his wives. He’s said to have fifteen. Playa, playa?

Photo: Twitter/Erykah Badu, WENN

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