Most of us don't spend a lot of time thinking about how the top musicians earn their giant paychecks when they aren't rocking a sold-out arena or hawking their own line of perfume, but it turns out at least a few get paid by Muammar Gaddafi's family.
Gaddafi's son, Muatassim, is known for his extravagant parties that are often packed with supermodels and stars. Rolling Stone recently published an article naming the celebrities who have been paid to entertain at these lavish events, and suggests that they should all donate their payments.
The list of celebs includes Beyoncé, Mariah Carey, Usher, and 50 Cent.
From the article:
Carey accepted $1 million to perform for Qaddafi's son, Muatassim, Libya's national-security adviser, at a lavish New Year's Eve party on the Caribbean island of St. Barts in 2008; Beyoncé and Usher performed for an undisclosed sum on the island the following year. 50 Cent gave a performance before Muatassim at a 2005 film festival in Venice. Managers for Usher, 50 Cent, and Carey declined comment, and Beyoncé's management, run by her father, Mathew Knowles, did not return phone calls.
Nelly Furtado recently stepped forward to announce that she planned to donate the $1 million she received from the Gaddafi clan to perform a 45-minute show at a hotel in Italy. Not to be outdone, yesterday a rep for Beyoncé stated that Beyoncé—who played a New Year's Eve gig for Muatassim with Usher in St. Barts in 2009—donated her own payment to earthquake relief efforts for Haiti over a year ago.
Rolling Stone compares this current controversy to the way that artists, including Rod Stewart and Queen, faced criticism for playing the South African resort Sun City in the '70s and '80s despite the country’s apartheid regime.
One of the differences these days, I'm sure, is the size of the paycheck. ONE MILLION DOLLARS FOR 45 MINUTES. Gah. How many Libyan countrymen could that help, I wonder?
I know most musicians aren't famous for their political knowledge, but maybe it's time for a few of these folks to do their homework before agreeing to an appearance. As an agent said to Rolling Stone,
I don’t think most artists go into [performing at a party like this] with that kind of in-depth focus, [of] how each country is governed and what goes on inside each country. Not every artist is a humanitarian. In more cases than not, for people, greed rules.
What do you think, should other musicians who are known to have been paid by Muatassim be pressured to pay their money forward?
Image via Flickr/Dohkoedi