.

Kanye West Criticized for Kazakhstan Performance

Rights group says rapper's visit legitimized a 'human rights wasteland'

Kanye West performs in New York City.
Taylor Hill/WireImage
September 4, 2013 11:40 AM ET

Kanye West drew a rebuke from the Human Rights Foundation for his performance at the wedding of the grandson of Kazakhstan's president Nursultan Nazarbayev, The Associated Press reports. The HRF and others have said West's private performance on Saturday legitimized the Nazarbayev and the country's various human rights violations.

What Were Kanye West's 10 Best Quotes on Kris Jenner's Talk Show?

In a statement, HRF President Thor Halvorssen called Kazakhstan a "human rights wasteland" and the kind of place where an artist like West would be imprisoned for expressing his views. According to the HRF, Nazarbayev has been known to suppress the rights of citizens and the country's press, and has reportedly kidnapped family members of political dissidents to keep his hold on power.

In 2011, Sting canceled a concert in the Kazakh capital of Astana after a crackdown on striking oil workers in the city of Zhanaozen left more than a dozen people dead.

West is not the only artist to come under fire for such a performance: Earlier this summer, Jennifer Lopez sang at a private concert for President Kurbanguly Berdymukhamedov of Turkeminstan, though her publicist later claimed they were unaware of the country's record of human rights violations.

To read the new issue of Rolling Stone online, plus the entire RS archive: Click Here

prev
Music Main Next

blog comments powered by Disqus
Around the Web
Powered By ZergNet
Daily Newsletter

Get the latest RS news in your inbox.

Sign up to receive the Rolling Stone newsletter and special offers from RS and its
marketing partners.

X

We may use your e-mail address to send you the newsletter and offers that may interest you, on behalf of Rolling Stone and its partners. For more information please read our Privacy Policy.

Song Stories

“Madame George”

Van Morrison | 1968

One of the first stream-of-consciousness epics to make it onto a Van Morrison record, his drawn-out farewell to the eccentric "Madame George" lasted nearly 10 minutes, combining ingredients from folk, jazz and classical music. The character that gave the song its title provoked speculation that it was about a drag queen, though Morrison denied this in Rolling Stone. "If you see it as a male or a female or whatever, it's your trip," he remarked. "I see it as a ... a Swiss cheese sandwich. Something like that."

More Song Stories entries »
 
www.expandtheroom.com