Posted at 03:14 PM ET, 01/04/2012

Youssou N’dour to run for Senegal presidency: Will he fare better than other wannabe singer-politicians?

A month after Youssou N’dour saddened fans by announcing he would stop performing, the celebrated Senegalese singer and bandleader has said he will run for president.


Senegalese singer Youssou N'Dour performs at his club Thiossane in Dakar, Senegal, in Feburary 2007. (Rebecca Blackwell - Associated Press)
N’dour isn’t just any singer in Senegal. He’s a superstar. Rolling Stone Magazine has described his tenor as “so extraordinary” that “the history of Africa seems locked inside his extraordinary voice.” Time magazine in 2007 named N’dour one of its 100 Most Important people, citing his humanitarian work, cultural contributions and musical talent. The Post’s Chris Richards reports that N’dour is so big in Senegal that he challenged the 11-year rule of President Abdoulaye Wade on his own television station.

But will N’dour’s extraordinary fan base translate into votes? An opinion piece on AllAfrica.com says not necessarily. Below, a look at several other singers who have considered running for office, and how well they fared. (Hint: Not very well.)

When Wyclef Jean announced a run for president in his native Haiti in 2010, he was greeted with death threats and then was disqualified from the election, because he did not meet Haiti's five-year residency rule. And when Jean tried to campaign for a fellow performer running for president last March, the singer was reportedly shot at.

In 2008, country star Hank Williams Jr. said he was exploring a run for senator in Tennessee in 2012. His publicist told RealClear Politics at the time: “He’s talked about it, but no announcement has been made.” Williams Jr. made headlines in October when ESPN dropped him from the network after he compared President Obama to Adolf Hitler, and has since said nothing about his 2012 senatorial run.

All was going well for Dana Scallon , a popular Irish singer who became a member of Parliament. That is, until she ran for president. During her campaign, it was revealed that Scallon had dual U.S. and Irish citizenship, a fact many said she had been trying to conceal, Irish news site RTE News reports. Scallon was also forced, during the campaign, to make a public statement about a sexual abuse allegation about her brother John Brown. Scallon and Brown both denied the allegation.

So N’dour, are you sure you really want to run? The Wall Street Journal’s Speakeasy blog announced that the Senegalese superstar was “pacing nervously” as he announced his bid for the highest office Monday.

But N’dour does have a leg up on John and Scallon for appearing as something they don’t: “He is a bona fide patriot,” declared AllAfrica.com in the same opinion piece.

When announcing his presidency, N’dour said, pointedly, to make his patriotism clear: “'I do not have two passports and have no possessions outside Senegal. Everything I have gained I have invested here.”

Listen to N’dour below:

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By  |  03:14 PM ET, 01/04/2012

Tags:  World, Senegal, Youssou N’dour, Abdoulaye Wade, presidential run

 
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