Erykah Badu in Swaziland

HRF denounces American singer-songwriter Erykah Badu for performing at the birthday celebration of Swaziland’s King Mswati III, the last absolute monarch in Africa. Badu partied with the king and presented him with lavish gifts while several political prisoners languished in prison not far from the royal palace. HRF’s criticism of Badu’s actions led to an international media blitz that brought global attention to the often-overlooked human rights abuses in Swaziland. The campaign was quoted and referenced by over 20 international media outlets and led to Badu canceling a scheduled performance in another African dictatorship, The Gambia. 

Erykah Badu in Swaziland

Read a selection of commentary on the scandal:

“Erykah Badu under fire for singing to Swazi king”
Mail & Guardian

“Human rights groups demand answers after Erykah Badu performs for Swaziland dictator”
The Washington Times

“Erykah Badu Criticized for Performing at Swaziland King’s Birthday”
The Hollywood Reporter

“Erykah Badu Criticized Over Swaziland Performance”

“Erykah Badu Under Fire for Swazi King Birthday Performance”

“Erykah Badu slammed for performing at King Mswati III's birthday party”
The Guardian

“Erykah Badu Defends Swaziland Performance Amid Abuse Allegations”
Rolling Stone

“Erykah Badu defends singing for Swazi king”
Yahoo! News Singapore

“Erykah Badu on performing for a dictator: 'that's how KINGDOMS twerk'”
Los Angeles Times

“Erykah Badu defends singing for Swazi king”
Global Post