Singer-songwriter Monique Bingham hits back at DJ and producer Osunlade, who urged international artists to boycott performing in South Africa because of racism he experienced in the country.
In a lengthy Facebook post, it seems Bingham – whose music is supported mostly by South Africans, and regard the capital of house music as her second home – will not be part of Onsulade’s boycotting squad. Read Osunlade’s article here: https://thevoiceofsa.com/the-voice/lets-boycott-performing-in-south-africa-osunlade.html
“Just read Osunlade’s post about racism in South Africa urging international artists to boycott and not come here. He said he experienced racism worse than in the US or anywhere on the planet. Now I don’t know where Osunlade lives and I do not know how long he was in South Africa. He said he was here 10 years ago and I assume was here this year for a few days.
As someone who lives in the U.S and now spends weeks and now months at a time here in South Africa for the last 4 years I have many feelings about what he said. There is shocking poverty here no doubt. All abject poverty is shocking. There is deeply entrenched racism here of course. Apartheid ended 15 mins ago. But the leap from being disturbed and disgusted to telling South Africans to wake up and stop acting like monkeys? Telling those of us whose music resonates here more than anywhere else in the world not to come? To paint those of us who come here to perform and sing for the crowds that dig us, as mercenary interlopers more concerned with our wallets than our principles? Accused of somehow supporting a racist apartheid like system just by my presence here? Eh eh.
Now you crossed a fucking line. And there is no way in hell that I am just going to sit here and have insults like THAT leveled. HOMEBOY you left Jozi and went to PARIS LONDON AND AMSTERDAM?? The architects of imperialism in Africa. Easy to grandstand and call for a boycott in a country where you aint been booked for ten years. My music does not resonate with drunk white kids in Europe so I don’t be going there often.
I think you saw some deep shit here and it fucked up your head. I swear the song I just wrote with Nathi was almost written for you. We are artists and I have been writing tune after tune about my experiences in this country. It has been more of an inspiration creatively to me than anywhere I have ever been. But to try to make me out to be some kind of leech on poor black African people? I take some seeeerious issue with that. You told South Africans to wake up? Who the fuck needs you to tell them to wake up. The arrogance and condescending tone of your post for someone who was here for 5 mins, THAT was shocking to me. Americans man.
Hope you hear all that “western privilege” in your own voice. I don’t know where the fuck they took you brother and I’m sorry that was your experience. I don’t disagree with a lot of what you said. I am not naive by a long shot about racism and poverty here or abroad. Urging international artists to boycott the whole country as though this is an apartheid state that doesn’t have an elected black government is ego fueled histrionics. Yeah there is some fucked up shit here. Tell me where black folk don’t catch hell? The moon? You think the whole of SA should be boycotted? But not London? Not Paris? I’m gonna have to tell YOU to wake up.
If everyone were to boycott everywhere there is racism and poverty none of us could go anywhere. You think your mere presence is giving legitimacy to the ANC government that you oppose? Return the fee to Soul Candi and stay in Europe where you feel comfortable. Those of us with almost exclusively African fans are not interlopers. To imply that everyone in SA is dirt poor and everyone outside is rich is as inaccurate as it is immature. I am an underground artist. I don’t play all over Europe or even the US. My fans are here. And when black ass Shimza asks me to perform at HIS show in black ass Tembisa with my black ass band from Tembisa my black ass is going. Why the fuck wouldn’t I? What would me refusing to go accomplish exactly? And I am not supporting a racist government or giving legitimacy to a racist system by doing so. I’m playing music for my people.
Boycott? Really? And what pray tell are we exactly boycotting? What exact political conditions are you calling for an end to with this supposed boycott? And what exact political benchmarks would have to be hit for you to end this boycott and return? I don’t think you know.that’s some dangerous shit to throw out there. You were angry and rightfully so. But you flew off the handle and attacked the very people you purport to support. I am a black woman in a racist sexist industry so I stay pretty angry. I am a black woman who has been treated like shit in London AND Paris AND New York and have never been treated with such respect as I have been here in South Africa. I have been treated worse in California than Jozi.
Forgive me if I don’t join your hastily called for, ill-conceived boycott. My conscious is clear as hell. Have you told your boys who play to nothing but spoiled privileged white kids in Ibiza to boycott? Ain’t that some shit. White kids get to dance to whomever they want but poor black kids in SA shouldn’t? for their own good I guess? And that doesn’t sound like white privilege to you? The love I receive from my people here on their soil is nothing I am giving up anytime soon. Your post was some ego drenched reactionary bullshit.
Brother you had a bad experience. Join the fucking club. You had trouble in business class frown emoticon getting your champagne last? Come in the back to coach with us! All the flight attendants are househeads! We hang out take pics drink wine and many have come to my gigs. But to say blacks here are trained to walk around with their tails between their legs? That’s beyond the pale. None of the black people I know and now call dear friends here are trained like “monkeys”.
My dear friend’s brother was shot dead fighting apartheid. My homeboys fought in youth armies during apartheid and were arrested as children. My boy is still fighting with his law degree working within the system against the corruption of a now black government. They fought in a REAL African revolution. Like ones with guns and shit. Not a fashion revolution. Lose your illusions and romantic notions about Africa and be fair in your assessment. You don’t see white privilege in fucking New York? You’re mad, you’re disgusted, you’re angry, everyone is. But nobody’s stupid. And this shit is complicated. We know who got all the fucking cows and all the fucking land and all the fucking money. Everyone is painfully aware. Are you some sort of savior that landed here stayed two days and are suddenly more enlightened than those born and raised? Wake up? And do what, start shooting? What does wake up really mean or is that some shit that makes you feel better cause now you said something. Well hooray. That and $2.50 will get you a ride on a downtown 4 train.
The attempt to call out hand to mouth living independent international artists like me who are invited to come here and paint us as mercenaries takes some fucking nerve. And until you return your fee, airfare and hotel included to Spring Fiesta you are one of us. I am a proud black feminist and there is no way that I would come here if I thought I was somehow supporting a racist system. My brothers and sisters that I love here are not puppets or monkeys. Not every fan goes home to a mukuku after the show but hell yes too many do. And yes I am mad at that shit!
How can a president build a multi-million dollar home while whole neighborhoods still aint got lights on the street, or don’t even have a street! But baby step outside Paris and what do you think you find. They were rioting on Tottenham Crt Rd in 2010 and that did what exactly? I wish you had stayed longer. I wish you would have taken more time to have this conversation with a group of South Africans under a beautiful Jozi sky. The deepest most profound conversations of my life happened here. I love people here. I have family here. And not you or racist white folk or ignorant shallow black folk are running me out of Africa.
I wish you had come to a more in depth conclusion. Things always change too slow and never enough but they are changing. Everything changes. There is nothing worse here than you see in Trench Town or La Perla or Port au Prince or Sao Paulo or Indonesia or China. Are you boycotting those countries too? Shall I boycott Jamaica until people stop bleaching their skin? Anti-Africanism, anti-blackness, white supremacy are cancers spread all over the globe. Shall we all go gig on Mars? You do nothing to further what I think is your cause by calling black South Africans monkeys. I mean damn Osunlade. Damn. South Africans should wake up? I think SA just woke you up. This is Africa and shit gets deep down here. I bet you and I probably agree on more issues than we disagree. But you were here too short a time to make such a sweeping insulting judgement on such a proud resilient people.”