Badu has been in a running battle with critics since last week for performing at the birthday celebration of Swaziland’s King Mswati III.
The absolute monarch rules with an iron hand. He’s outlawed all political opposition and anyone who criticizes the government faces jail and likely torture.
Mswati lives in luxury befitting Louis XVI, while the overwhelming majority of his subjects live in abject poverty. Swaziland also has one of the highest rates of HIV infection in the world, according to the World Health Organization.
None of this deterred Badu from flying by helicopter to Swaziland from South Africa last week to give a one-off performance for the king and to enjoy his regal hospitality.
To make matters worse, Badu and her management team have been hostile and dismissive to anyone who questions the trip, according to Time magazine.
In one of her few public comments, Badu told the Dallas Morning News the visit was “harmless” and claimed she was unaware of the political climate in the kingdom.
Things went from bad to worse from there.
She’s been engaged in an on-going battle on Twitter with human rights activists who question her trip. She called one a “monkey,” another an “idiot” and protested that she was being oppressed.
But wait there’s more.
Badu was shuttled to Swaziland by Jacob Arabo, a felon convicted of lying to federal investigators and laundering hundreds of millions of dollars in drug money, according to Time.
Salgaocar, an Indian mining giant that operates a huge iron ore concession in Swaziland, also underwrote her trip, the magazine reported.
Badu had the temerity to tell the magazine that criticizing the king was tantamount to “racism.”
She’s slated to perform this month for Gambian dictator Yahya Jammeh, who seized power in a 1994 military coup. His human rights record makes King Mswati III look like a boy scout.
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