Kanye West Received Millions to Perform for Kazakhstan President

September 3, 2013

Rapper Kanye West spent the weekend in Kazakhstan performing at a wedding party for the grandson of President Nursultan Nazarbayev, who has been the focus of heavy criticism regarding human rights violations in the former Soviet republic.

TMZ reports that Kanye was paid in the neighborhood of $3 million for his performance.

Kazakhstan, popularized by Sacha Baron Cohen’s comedic film Borat, has been criticized by human rights watchdogs following the sharp rise in allegations of abuse in recent years under Nazarbayev.

Human Rights Watch director David Mepham has raised serious concerns about the situation in Kazakhstan.

"We are very concerned about the serious and deteriorating human rights situation there in recent years, including credible allegations of torture, the imprisonment of government critics, tight controls over the media and freedom of expression and association, limits in religious freedom, and continuing violation of workers' rights," Mepham wrote in a letter to British Prime Minister David Cameron.

Singer Sting canceled a 2011 concert he had scheduled in Kazakhstan due to government repression of striking oil and gas workers.

West isn’t the first celebrity this year that chose to overlook serious human rights violations in favor of a big pay day.

Earlier this summer, Jennifer Lopez received more than $10 million for "serenading crooks and dictators from Eastern Europe and Russia."

Published under: Hip Hop