Erykah Badu, for singing “Happy Birthday” to an African despot who, according to Amnesty International, “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.”
More appalling was the preposterous, self-pitying defense Badu mounted on social media.
“All the people were smiling when I sang,” Badu tweeted. “I was smiling. We all felt good in that moment.”
Via Twitter, the singer contested the idea that it was mandatory for the country’s citizens to attend the party. She said that her appearance was a “surprise for the King and the people.” She battled with tweeters, telling one to “go to human rights class” and telling another, who claimed to be Swazi and “directly affected by Mswati’s oppression,” “U on Twitter tho, oppressing me.” She even said she would perform in North Korea. “The people aren’t the government,” she wrote.
“Every time I respond to cruel accusations from my African freedom fighting brothers, I know I’m giving them a platform to further their agenda,” she wrote Thursday. “If one watched closely, we would appear as if we were a team. Good cop, bad cop. . . using my platform to give legs to their brothers in jail. In actuality. They see me as a naive, sensitive whose platform can be used and fluffed at the artist’s expense. Unnecessary Roughness.”
Conclusion: Badu is either astoundingly stupid or staggeringly callous.