Kanye West is being slammed by the Human Rights Foundation for his weekend performance in Kazakhstan. The rapper was paid $3 million to perform at the wedding of President Nursultan Nazarbayev’s grandson, a country where his lyrics and music might land him in prison if he were a native.
“Kazakhstan is a human rights wasteland,” said HRF President Thor Halvorssen. “The regime crushes freedom of speech and association; someone like Kanye, who makes a living expressing his views, would find himself in a prison under Nazarbayev’s rule. This particular dictator’s ruthless behavior includes kidnapping the families of dissidents to his rule and abusing judicial systems across the world in persecuting his opponents.”
West’s performance comes on the heels of a similar concert given by Jennifer Lopez for the dictator of neighboring Turkmenistan earlier this summer. Over the years, Lopez has reportedly made $10 million performing for other “dictators and their cronies,” the HFR claims.
“The millions of dollars paid to Kanye came from the loot stolen from the Kazakhstan treasury. He has supported numerous charities throughout his career, including a few specifically focused on international human rights work. Kanye has entertained a brutal killer and his entourage. Will he follow J.Lo’s lead and simply remain hypocritically oblivious to the plight of some of the world’s most oppressed people? It’s up to the public to hold them accountable,” said Garry Kasparov, chairman of the Human Rights Foundation.
While Kanye and Jennifer may not have a conscience, iconic rocker Sting does. In 2011, he refused to play a private concert Kazakhstan, citing concern over the repression of workers in the country.