Beyonce and Mariah Carey sang for the Gaddafis. Now they're changing their tune.

Sunday, March 6, 2011; B02

Paul Robeson penned a tribute to Stalin. Bob Marley played for Robert Mugabe. And Paul Simon and Queen performed in apartheid-era South Africa. Chart-topping musicians don't just win Grammys and score endorsement deals - they get paid mega-bucks to perform in unsavory places for unsavory people. Usually no one pays attention.

But not last week. When the big paydays that R&B stars got from the Gaddafi family became public, critics lashed out faster than Naomi Campbell denying taking blood diamonds. Who are the pop stars who have sung for the Gaddafis, how much did they get paid, and - as revolution roils Libya - are they keeping the money?

- Justin Moyer


Where: St. Barts

When: Dec. 31, 2009

How much: "A six-figure sum," according to Britain's Mirror

Damage control: The singer's spokesperson said that fees for her five-song performance at the New Year's Eve bash of Gaddafi's son Muatassim "were donated to the earthquake relief efforts in Haiti, over a year ago . . . once it became known that the third-party promoter was linked to the Qaddafi family." A spokesperson for the Clinton-Bush Haiti Fund confirmed a $1 million donation; meanwhile, many Libyans have complained that it didn't go to the rebels.


Where: St. Barts

When: Dec. 31, 2009

How much: Unknown

Damage control: Usher performed on the same bill as Beyonce in 2009, but he has not issued a statement.

Mariah Carey

Where: St. Barts

When: Dec. 31, 2008

How much: $1 million

Damage control: "At the time, Libya was not in the news," said a statement on Carey's Web site on Thursday. The singer added: "I was naive and unaware of who I was booked to perform for. I feel horrible and embarrassed to have participated in this mess. Going forward, this is a lesson for all artists to learn from." Though the site says Carey is "very philanthropic," it does not say whether her fee will go to charity.

Nelly Furtado

Where: "A hotel in Italy"

When: 2007

How much: $1 million

Damage control: Furtado was the first to fess up, writing on Twitter on Monday: "In 2007, I received 1million$ from the Qaddafi clan to perform a 45 min. Show for guests at a hotel in Italy I am going to donate the $." Furtado has not said where the $ will go.

Lionel Richie

Where: Tripoli, Libya

When: April 15, 2006

How much: Unknown

Damage control: Richie and Spanish tenor Jose Carreras performed in front of Moammar Gaddafi's shattered house to commemorate the 20th anniversary of airstrikes ordered by President Ronald Reagan after Libyan agents bombed a nightclub in Berlin on April 5, 1986. Gaddafi claimed that the Tripoli bombing killed his adopted baby girl, and Richie paid tribute onstage: "Hanna will be honored tonight because of the fact that you've attached peace to her name."

50 Cent

Where: Venice

When: August or September 2005

How much: Unknown

Damage control: Rolling Stone reports that Curtis "50 Cent" Jackson performed for Muatassim Gaddafi at the Venice Film Festival, but no details about the performance or his payment have emerged. Since the artist hasn't commented either, we can only conclude that he made more than four bits.

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