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Kanye West Plays The Palace

"Kanye West and Jay-Z earned a nice buck [in December] when they were hired by a billionaire to perform at his daughter's Sweet 16 birthday party," Tale Tela - among many other blogs and news services but neither of the Chicago dailies or the Reader - reports.

"The lucky girl in question is the sister of Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan who owns Manchester City football team and the daughter of Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, the original founder of the United Arab Emirates."

I dunno, I kinda think Kanye West is still a local story. To wit:

"Kanye West was born in Atlanta, Georgia, where he lived with his parents," according to his Wikipedia bio. "When he was three years old, his parents divorced, and he and his mother moved to Chicago, Illinois.

"His father was Ray West, a former Black Panther who was one of the first black photojournalists at The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, and is now a Christian counselor.

"West's mother, Dr. Donda West, was a Professor of English at Clark Atlanta University, and the Chair of the English Department at Chicago State University before retiring to serve as West's manager.

"He was raised in a middle-class background, attending Polaris High School in suburban Oak Lawn, Illinois after living in Chicago . . .

"West attended art classes at the American Academy of Art in Chicago, and also enrolled at Chicago State University, but dropped out to focus on his music career."

This is also the kind of story that coverage of celebrities so often provides to mostly serious news organizations: An opening to a conversation. I mean, isn't it obvious?

A) Once again, we have to ask: Is it immoral to spend so much money on a Sweet 16 party? See also My Super Sweet 16.

B) Sweet 16 parties? What is this, the 50s?

C) Is it immoral to accept so much money to perform at a Sweet 16?

D) Will Kanye West donate the money to the Occupy movement that he supports? Or is he okay with banking millions by entertaining the ridiculously spoiled offspring of the 1%?

E) How does West - and Jay-Z - feel about entertaining for the rulers of a nation described as "a federation of seven monarchies, whose rulers retain absolute power within their emirates?"

F) Does it matter if West - and Jay-Z - would turn around and give the money to underprivileged children somewhere in the world?

In other words . . . can we talk?

*

Meanwhile . . .

"Jay-Z has been slapped with a lawsuit by the Workers' Compensation Board of New York. Apparently Hov was late paying a fine for not providing employee insurance for his domestic help," Pop Crush writes.

"According to TMZ, the suit claims the rap mogul failed to compensate his domestic help - housekeepers, cooks, chauffeurs, etc. - with workers' insurance for three months in 2009. For those lapses in payments, Jay was hit with a $18,000 fine. Since then, he has secured the right insurance and the matter was rectified. However, Jay forgot to pay the fine."

*

Obviously, West is following in a long line of American entertainers who make big bucks overseas for questionable-at-best and brutal-murderers-at-worst despots. Truly, will immensely wealthy people do anything to become even more immensely wealthy? Do they have moral responsibilities?

To wit:

"Inaugurated by popstar Jennifer Lopez in front of the cream of Moroccan society, Casablanca's first mega mall, complete with two-story-high aquarium, is dripping with glamour and luxury," AP reported last month.

"While developers describe it as a step bringing Morocco closer to the ranks of the developed world, detractors worry that it is a vanity project that a country teetering on the edge of an economic crisis can ill afford.

"Morocco at first seems a curious choice for what its developers are billing as the biggest mall in Africa. It already has world-renowned traditional bazaars featuring exquisite ceramics and rugs that draw tourists from across the globe.

"The North African kingdom of 32 million is home to the largest income inequalities in the Arab world - and now hosts Louis Vuitton, Gucci, Dior and Ralph Lauren boutiques and department store Galeries Lafayette in the new mall, a futuristic, bulbous silver structure perched on Morocco's coast overlooking the crashing waves of the Atlantic.

"It is a stark symbol of the contrasts of a country with 8.5 million people in poverty that ranks 130 out of 186 on the U.N.'s human development index, but will still host acts like Shakira and Kanye West for a summer concert series."

*

"In 2008, Mariah Carey performed for Muatassim Gadhafi at a New Year's Eve party on the island of St. Barts for $1 million," according to Rolling Out.

In 2009, it was Beyoncé. Nelly Furtado performed for the Gadhafi family in 2007 for $1 million.

And it's not just despots.

"Earlier this year, Drake, earned a cool $250,000 for a performance at a high-profile bar mitzvah for the son of NBC executive Jeff Zucker after Kanye West's performance price was deemed too high for the organizers."

It's really about cosmopolitan elites across borders who have more in common with each other than they do with their fellow citizens. Class is a global issue - and so is the economy and its collapse.

But to a good many people with power and wealth, all that matters is other people with power and wealth. You can serve each other in the lap of luxury. How you got power and wealth, and how you use it, is not important. The rest of us are just their playthings.

Postscript
Tweet from West on December 27:

Ok, what does Rock the Casbah mean exactly?

All these years and you still don't know? You could've just looked it up:

"The song gives a fabulist account of a ban on rock music by the Sharif or King being defied by the population, who proceed to 'rock the casbah.' The King orders jet fighters to bomb any people in violation of the ban. The pilots ignored the orders, and instead play rock music on their cockpit radios."

In a broader sense, the song is about cultural control by authoritarians. Get it, Kanye?

-

Comments welcome.



Permalink

Posted on January 4, 2012


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SPORTS - The McEnroes In Antarctica.

BOOKS - Foxconned.

PEOPLE PLACES & THINGS - Don't Let Your Pet OD.


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