Thursday, October 19, 2006

Jay-Z in Angola

Last week Jay-Z played a concert in Luanda- at the Karl Marx performance space, no less. In and of itself, this is amazing. As far as I know, no big name entertainer has played here. Rap is extremely popular among the Angolan kids, so this was a very big deal. At first I was a little surprised that Jay-Z would come to Angola. No one comes to Angola! (With the exception of Chris Tucker, the actor/comedian who came here to film part of the PBS series African American Lives, which is worth putting on your Netflix List.) It’s no longer a cause celebre, now that the war is over; it’s not as commercially powerful as other places, like South Africa; and it’s certainly not comfortable, even for the people rich enough to pay for the very best.

Then my friend Jade sent me a UNICEF release on Jay-Z’s work as a UNICEF ambassador. Jay-Z is making a tour of African nations and filming his travels as part of a MTV special on water access. I think this is great; he is a celebrity using his fame and abilities to bring attention to a development issue but not acting like a savior… and he didn’t even have to adopt an orphan!

(You can follow Jay-Z's MTV work in Angola here.)


Antonio said...

Dear Leslie. I think you're a little bit wrong. If you ever try to know the big names that played in Angola you would be amazingly surprised. Those crazy guys in Angola have a lot of money; and they pay whatever they want to have whoever they want. Try to know.

Antonio said...

Besides, Leslie, what people is saying is that Jay-Z didn't come for free. He was paid 500.000 dollars by UNITEL.