Artists slam Burna Boy on Africans Unite concert line-up, government distances itself from it
Nigerian rapper Burna Boy is set to perform at a concert in SA later this month after promising to never set foot in the country again.
Local musicians and event organisers have objected to Nigerian rapper Burna Boy’s inclusion at an anti-xenophobic concert, claiming the star incited hatred with his comments on SA.
In a series of tweets in September, Burna Boy urged black foreigners living in SA to defend and protect themselves against xenophobic attackers. In a now deleted tweet, he also told SA rapper AKA to beef up his security, before giving him the middle finger.
He promised to never set foot in SA again until the government “wakes the f*ck up and really performs a miracle”.
A month later it was announced that Burna would be performing in SA as part of the Africans Unite line-up to “unify all Africans and speak out against femicide”.
Ticket listings and promotional material for the event claimed the concert was sponsored by the department of sports, arts and culture and is organised by Play Network Africa, which, according to its website, is based in Nigeria.
Musicians and event organisers, under the umbrella of Tshwane Entertainment Collective, wrote a scathing letter to the minister raising objections against the concert and calling for the department to pull its sponsorship of the event.
The group questioned the exclusion of artists and event organisers from Tshwane in the process, the lack of financial support for artists from the area, and claims that communities affected by xenophobia are located far from the areas where the concert will be held and cannot afford the ticket prices for the event.
The chief concern was against Burna Boy’s inclusion, and the group labelled the event a “financial exercise to benefit the very artists who have our country in a negative light based on false claims”.
“Whoever may have deemed that the country needs a PR exercise of this nature would have done so largely as a result of the callous, misleading and unwarranted incitement by this very artist. Not only did he spread falsehoods through his extensive platform, he literally incited violence and hate,” the letter said of Burna Boy, suggesting that government had succumbed to pressure from him.
Meanwhile, Burna Boy has announced he will contribute a portion of the proceeds from the concert to the victims of xenophobic attacks.
“I really hope we can all keep contributing in our own way to make the world a better and safer place for each other. Africans unite, it’s bigger than all of us,” he wrote on Twitter.
Rapper AKA responded to the decision by suggesting that most of those contributions will then go to South Africans because they were the biggest victims of the violence.