It’s Labor Day weekend in America at the moment. True to the holiday’s spirit of honouring workers, Kanye West logged in for an unlikely shift… accepting $3 million to be the live entertainment at the wedding of the President of Kazakhstan’s grandson. Oh no, here we go again.
According to TMZ, Nurzultan Nazarbayev, who’s been the President of Kazakhstan since Kazakhstan’s existed, invited the rapper personally. You’d think that after the criticism recently aimed at fellow entertainers Jennifer Lopez and Hilary Swank for selling their services to controversial international leaders (the president of Turkmenistan and Chechen leader, Ramzan Kadyrov, respectively), that Kanye would do some research before accepting the gig? Alas nopes, he was probs too busy reading a book about lamps or something.
As Buzzfeed reports, Sting cancelled a proposed concert in Kazakhstan last year after government crackdowns on strikes by oil workers led Human Rights Watch to state that the country’s human rights record had “seriously deteriorated.” Similarly, Nazarbayev (who’s Wikipedia page has its own ‘Allegations of corruption‘ section) has been accused of funneling around $1 billion of the country’s oil revenue into his own private bank accounts, leaving Kazakhstan ranking a pretty terrible 133rd of 176 in Transparency International’s ‘Corruption Perceptions Index‘.
To be fair, though, it doesn’t look like Kanye put his heart into the performance. Perhaps it was his own silent $3 million protest, but judging from footage that’s making the rounds online, he just seemed to be going through the motions, while rich kids posed awkwardly in front of the stage for some memorable selfies.
— Meshkova (@Meshkova_) September 1, 2013
Woah, party. For $3 million, these guys could’ve bought Borat, an endless supply of fermented horse urine, and countless hours of cow-punching shenanigans. Poorly played, Kazakhstan.