Usher to donate Gaddafi concert fee to charity

R&B star follows Nelly Furtado, Beyoncé and Mariah Carey in expressing regret over performing for family of Libyan leader

Weeks into the uprising in Libya, Usher has finally responded to calls that he donate his fee from a private concert for the son of Muammar Gaddafi. The R&B star is "sincerely troubled", he said, after learning about the circumstances of a star-studded New Year's Eve gig in 2009. Following similar gestures by Nelly Furtado, Beyoncé and Mariah Carey, Usher pledged to give his earnings "to various human rights organisations".

Usher and Beyoncé performed at the same event on the island of St Barts, funded by Mutassim Gaddafi. It is not known how much Usher was paid, but Beyoncé allegedly earned $2m for her performance. Both stars claim they did not know who was hosting the gig – despite the fact that hip-hop impresario Russell Simmons tweeted from the event, referring to it as the "khadafy party".

Whereas Furtado announced that she was donating her fee before she had been called on to do so, the responses from Beyoncé, Carey and Usher follow public outcry over celebrity performances for dictators. Beyoncé claims she donated her earnings last year, as soon as she discovered the Gaddafi family's role in the gig. Carey promised to donate proceeds from a future single. Now, Usher will give away "personal proceeds" from the show to charities including Amnesty International. "Usher's donation will support this urgent work to counter the brutal conditions like those imposed by Gaddafi and other leaders across the Middle East," the human rights organisation said.

In spite of the announcements by Usher, Carey, Beyoncé and Furtado, several other stars have yet to answer claims that they collected huge earnings by performing for the Gaddafis. Timbaland, Lionel Richie, 50 Cent and Enrique Iglesias have all allegedly played for the family, while celebrities including Jay-Z, Lindsay Lohan and Jon Bon Jovi were spotted at the performances.


Sean Michaels

The GuardianTramp

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