Hip-hop’s power couple is coming under close scrutiny for cashing checks from Libyan President Muammar Khadafy’s son.
The payments in question came from the junior Khadafy and were for parties in 2008 and 2010, that featured performances by Jay-Z and Beyonce. Last year, at the thirty-three-year-old’s 2010 New Years Eve bash in St. Barts, Beyonce performed in front of Russell Simmons, Usher, and other high-profile guests. Aptly named, Hannibal, the son of the Libyan dictator is known for throwing lavish parties. Back in 2008, Beyonce’s husband, Jay-Z performed at another large event paid for by the Khadafy family as well.
Last year, Beyonce had initially received criticism for taking the gig due to the accusations that the family had funded terrorist groups around the world. The outcries eventually quelled down as the event faded into memory and short-tempered bloggers moved on. But with the political unrest and violence in Libya on the front page of newspapers around the world, the debate has been reignited.
Today, in an article from Salon titled “Why is Beyonce Untouchable?”, Drew Grant writes:
There is enough celebrity blame to go around for being paid in blood money to perform, and it’s doubtful that Beyoncé or Jay would consider performing at next year’s bash, now that Libya is all over the news for its protester blood bath. Still, the couple got away relatively unscathed in the media for their relationship with the dictator’s family, which is more than a little odd, especially since both (but especially Jay-Z) are considered political activists in the music industry. How could they not have known who was funding their performances?
As Grant points out, many celebrities are guilty of accepting money from less than upstanding sources. Many times, unbeknownst to them, saying ‘yes’ can open up a hailstorm of controversy. Just ask Naomi Campbell–who was summoned to testify before the Hague War Crimes Tribunal after the prosecution alleged she accepted ‘blood diamonds’ from former Liberian leader Charles Taylor. While they may not be testifying in war crimes trial anytime soon, Jay and Bey are certainly in the hot seat.
Some are calling for the stars to return the money paid, saying that it should be given to humanitarian charity organizations helping Libyans affected by the unrest. What do you think? Should Jay and Bey give the money from those performances back?