Tanzanians Petition for Diamond Platnumz’s Disqualification from BET Awards
A number of Tanzanians have collectively endorsed a petition which they hope will have musician Diamond Platnumz disqualified from this year’s BET Awards. The Tanzanian artist, known for his distinct Bongo Flava sound, was recently nominated for a BET award alongside Nigeria’s Burna Boy and Wizkid in the Best International Act category. However, Tanzanians behind the petition want his nomination rescinded due to his close ties and public support for the late President John Magufuli.
According to Music Africa, at least 18000 people have already signed the online platform. The petition was reportedly published by Change Tanzania, a social movement focused on bringing about sustainable change in the country. An excerpt from the petition itself reads as follows:
“Diamond Platnumz is a world-renowned Tanzanian artist who used his popularity and his talent to whitewash and deodorise the brutal repression of the late dictator John Magufuli and his regime…In 2020, despite a huge outcry locally and internationally against Magufuli and his regime, Diamond endorsed this brutal dictator, dedicated a song to him (‘Magufuli Baba Lao’) and several times took to stage with him during the campaign.”
Change Tanzania also alleges that Diamond Platnumz has also failed to show solidarity for other artists, including comedian Idris Sultan, who have been arrested under Magufuli’s former regime. However, Diamond Platnumz has not gone completely unscathed either as he was detained by authorities back in 2018 after posting what was deemed an “inappropriate” photo on social media.
Although neither the artist nor BET have commented on the matter as yet, there is at least a conversation to be had about the intersection of music and politics, particularly when the latter involves dictators. Dr Vincent Magombe, Ugandan journalist, broadcaster and university lecturer, explored this recently for OkayAfrica and expressed why he felt the 2021 Africa Music Awards (MAMAs), should not be held in Uganda, a country battling human rights violations at the hands of President Yoweri Museveni.