Beyonce and Usher’s Gaddafi links revealed

Beyonce Knowles

They and Mariah Carey among acts who played for Libyan leader’s son at Caribbean parties

BY Sophie Taylor LAST UPDATED AT 15:12 ON Thu 24 Feb 2011

As the Gaddafi regime implodes, and the death toll of innocent Libyans mounts, a number of American celebrities are being made to feel a little sheepish. Unfortunately for the likes of Beyonce, Mariah Carey and Usher, documents released on WikiLeaks (where else?) lift the lid on how they were happy to accept the Gaddafi dollar in return for performances at his son Mutassim's New Year's parties on the Caribbean island of St Barts.
In 2009 Mariah Carey was reportedly paid $1m for a short set, and the following year both Beyonce and Usher were persuaded to sing for their suppers at the shindig.
And it wasn't just the singers who were rubbing shoulders with the Gaddafi clan. Beyonce's husband, Jay Z, attended the 2010 party along with party girls Lindsay Lohan and Miranda Kerr.
Even at the time eyebrows were raised over Beyonce's involvement. Marc Lamont Hill, a Columbia University media professor, told CNN: "Beyonce's handlers usually make really good decisions about where she's going to perform... So it seems to me that someone was asleep at the wheel, or the money was so overwhelming that they said, 'Screw the public image, we're going to take the cash'."
But it is something of an irony, documented in the WikiLeaks cables, that while the celebs were prepared to socialise with the Gaddafis, not all of the family wanted to be associated with American stars.
When the media reported that Carey had performed for Saif al-Islam Gaddafi, the dictator's son was so enraged at being linked with unseemly Western behaviour that he used the Libyan media to deny the charges, making sure that everyone knew it was his brother Mutassim who hosted the Caribbean party.

For further concise, balanced comment and analysis on the week's news, try The Week magazine. Subscribe today and get 6 issues completely free.