Come to Kazakhstan, It's Nice! Kanye West Seranades President for $3 Million
Kanye West has attracted criticism for his concert in Kazakstan.
Ok, so we've heard the story tons of times before. Famous singer plays for world leader with dodgy human rights record and gets paid millions for an hours work.
The latest star to risk the wrath of international protestors is none other than R&B star Kanye West, who reportedly accepted a cheque for $3 million to play at the wedding of the grandson of the President of Kazakhstan, Nursultan Nazarbayev.
In scenes not unlike the popular MTV series My Sweet 16, Aysyltan probably jumped for joy when his Grandpa told him he'd booked one of the biggest stars in the world for his wedding to Alima Boranbayeva, who studies art at the Courtauld Institute in London. Her father is the chairman of the Kazakh-Russian state oil venture KazRosGas, according to the Independent.
Now, on to the good bit. The controversies and alleged human rights violations.
The Nazarbayev family has been embroiled in numerous investigations by Western governments into money laundering, bribery, and assassinations.
In 2007, the U.S. State Department listed a host of human rights abuses in the country, including severe limits on political freedoms and freedom of speech, prisoner abuse, arbitrary arrests and detentions, violence against woman and trafficking.
If you've done any research into Nazabayev, you'll probably have come across some pretty positive things too - largely his environmental and nuclear stance - though a recent New York Times story claims the President's regime has been paying Washington DC think tanks to issue glowing reports on the country that ignore its glaring shortcomings.
Human Rights Watch has singled out Kazakhstan for its "serious and deteriorating human rights situation" which includes "credible allegations of torture, the imprisonment of government critics, tight controls over the media and freedom of expression and association, limits in religious freedom, and continuing violation of workers' rights."
Nevertheless, Kanye West performed at the luxury Grand Tulip Hotel over the weekend, with various photos posted to Twitter and Instagram - a video of the performance also found its way onto YouTube (which you can watch below).
As mentioned, the world's biggest superstars performing these types of concert is by no means a new revelation. In fact, in 2011, Sting pulled out of an arranged concert in Kazakhstan over claims of human rights violations against oil workers.
At the time, the singer said: "The Kazakh gas and oil workers and their families need our support and the spotlight of the international media on their situation in the hope of bringing about positive change."
In July, Jennifer Lopez was severely criticized for singing at a birthday concert for the president of Turkmenistan - a man accused of committing some of the biggest human rights abuses in recent times. The American Idol judge later apologized for the concert.
According to a statement by the Human Rights Foundation, Turkmenistan leader Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov is ranked as one of the nine "worst of the worst" dictators on the planet, while Transparcency International ranks the country as a bottom-seven country in their Corruption Perception Index.
In 2010, Beyonce was paid a reported $1 million to play for Mutassum Gaddafi, the son and national security advisor of Libyan leader Col Muammar Gaddafi. The R&B superstar sang five songs in St Barts, before Usher took over until midnight.
The Canadian singer Nelly Furtado - who sang for Gaddafi family members at an Italian hotel in 2007 - went public with her remorse, telling Twitter followers that she would donate her fee to charity.
In 2001, Welsh rockers Manic Street Preachers performed at the Karl Marx Theatre in Havana in 2001, chatting to the guest of honor Fidel Castro before the show despite his well-publicized human rights abuses, according to The Telegraph.
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