DAR ES SALAAM, 8 June 2021 – An online petition asking that a Tanzanian music star be dropped from the BET Music Awards has garnered over 20,000 signatures.
Diamond Platnumz was recently nominated alongside Nigerian stars, Burna Boy and Wizkid, in the Best International Act category of the BET Awards.
Music Africa says over 18,000 people have signed the petition on their website, with an additional 2,421 signatures appended to a similar petition on the Change.org website.
Petitioners are calling on BET to rescind the nomination of the Tanzanian songwriter and singer, accusing him of “whitewashing” the dictatorial tendencies of the government of former Tanzanian President John Pombe Magufuli who died in office last March.
Known for his distinct Congo Flava sound, Platnumz publicly supported Magufuli as his government harassed dissidents and members of the independent press.
The petition says whereas Nigerian stars like Davido and Burna Boy used their star power to “shed light on injustice” in their country, including during the #EndSARS protests last year, Platnumz is accused of using his stardom to mobilize support for a leader whose acts were increasingly dictatorial.
Magufuli died officially from a heart attack, but persistent rumors hold that the heart attack came about as a result of complications from his infection with the new coronavirus, whose existence he either denied or claimed had been “prayed away” in Tanzania.
One of Platnumz’s songs was used at rallies of the ruling Tanzanian party last year.
The BET Awards hold next June 27.