While Kanye West may not be Keeping Up With The Kardashians anymore -- refusing to appear on further episodes to protect his precious reputation -- he is certainly has not been keeping up either with the politics of another type of "K" clan, namely the Kazakhstan's ruling family.
"Kimye" is the latest pop star facing scrutiny for serenading a ruthless ruler, with a less than desirable human rights dossier for the sake of pocketing lucrative payouts. The singer recently performed in Kazakhstan at a wedding reception held by longtime president, Nursultan Nazarbayev, in honor of his grandson. For someone worried about tarnishing his reputation, he sure didn't seem to be concerned about what giving a private gig to a leader, who during his 23-year autocratic rule has championed human rights abuses, might do to his superstar image -- unless he was more concerned about his bad boy credibility. But surely three million is enough to make you lack common sense or give you amnesia! Or perhaps as a newly dad he is investing in baby North West's academic future?
In his defense, he's not the only celebrity who was paid handsomely to kiss a morally dubious dictator's booty long enough for the lump sum transfer to go through. West follows the footsteps of a boatload of artists who have sold out in years past -- and "by selling out," we're not talking about concert tickets!
J-Lo, Beyonce, Lionel Ritchie, 50 Cent, Nelly Furtado, Mariah Carey, Elton John, Sting and Usher have all been keeping the tradition alive. We might care for a minute but we're hardly shocked by it anymore. The trend has been standard for a while that it somehow has become the new normal in our celebrity-centric culture.
From birthday parties to wedding ceremonies and anniversaries or special commemorations, any celebratory occasion is a good enough reason for these pop stars to hop on a private plane to the Middle East, Eastern Europe or any other destinations for that matter, to go belch out tunes to power-mad despots, fascists, totalitarians, oppressors and dictators to the tune of millions of dollars!
Are our pop music superstars running out of money? Are they completely oblivious to foreign affairs? Or perhaps they 're so desperate for attention that they'll agree to pull any PR stunts without even thinking twice about what the potential political and social ramifications might be. Personally I go for option C: all of the above!
After all, it's quite easy for them to pull the "naïve" card when they get publicly busted, and then save the day by generously donating their private appearance paycheck to a charity of their choice. While they are probably that "ignorant," it's hard to conceive that their entire entourage of managers, publicists and record executives, you name it, is also as clueless as they are. Really? Not one single member part of these pop stars' army could figure out before hand what kind of a man the party-thrower was? In the age of Internet no one thought of doing a Google search?
It'd be one thing if these celebrities, who get publicly shamed for royally messing up, would just apologize then mind their own music business; but the hypocrisy of it all is that as "unaware" as they (allegedly) are, they have the audacity to want to impart their "uneducated" knowledge by suddenly becoming vocal about their political beliefs. Are they really acting as genuinely informed and invested political advocates or are they perhaps yet again following a campaign that smells of money?
How can we not be cynical about these high-profiles multimillionaires, sans common sense, who one minute profess one thing and the next utterly contradict themselves? How can we take the political and/or philanthropic causes they attach themselves to seriously when apparently they can't tell the difference between despotism and democracy?
There is absolutely no logical consistency when it comes to their behavior, nor is there a strict adherence to any kind of ethics, code of conduct, much less, moral values when it comes to money. Not only does money talk, but it is also unmistakably the one (and only) universal language they all are fluent in.
Perhaps we're the ones naive for thinking that a "REAL" artist is someone who will never compromise nor jeopardize his or her artistic integrity for greed?
Celebrities get away with too many crimes nowadays. There's a total lack of accountability because even if they get crucified for say crooning to authoritarian oppressors, they won't suffer any substantial long lasting, damaging backlash.
This is what happens when the media keeps on giving celebs way too much attention: they get too much power... and less brain. The insane amount of celebrity news coverage has done nothing but inflate our celebrities' already misplaced egos and given them an overly distorted sense of self-appointed omnipotence.
And why should they care when the reality is that 1) at least they'll get us to talk about them because the juicier the scandal the better for their publicity, and 2) they know they can spin their wrongdoings, and eventually be pardoned.
The only price to pay for being out of line is more fame because invariably, we're suckers for a good comeback story. Maybe we shouldn't let them come back? Let them stay in these repressive countries and get a taste of the cruel punishment, violence and torture inflicted by the dictators they rub elbows with.
Let's see if they'll change their tune afterward!