Band Aid 30: Fuse ODG turned down Bob Geldof single over 'negative' image of Africa

The rapper has his own movement to raise Africa's profile more positively

Jess Denham@jess_denham
Tuesday 18 November 2014 11:51
Rapper Fuse ODG did not take part in Bob Geldof's new Band Aid 30 single
Rapper Fuse ODG did not take part in Bob Geldof's new Band Aid 30 single

Fuse ODG turned down Sir Bob Geldof’s offer to join Band Aid 30 because the song’s message was “not in line” with his beliefs.

Scroll to watch the Band Aid 30 video

The British-Ghanaian rapper has set up his own movement, T.I.N.A (This Is New Africa) to help raise the profile of Africa and Africans in a more positive way. His single of the same name is currently in the UK Top 40.

Fuse said in a statement that, although he initially agreed to feature on “Do They Know It’s Christmas?”, after reading the reworked Ebola-themed lyrics he felt that involvement with the track would go against the movement he feels so passionate about.

“Big up Sir Bob Geldof and his heart,” the “Antenna” star wrote on Twitter. “After some consideration, I spoke with Geldof and informed him I would be unable to attend the studio session."

Geldof has addressed Fuse’s comments, admitting that he is “quite right”. “[There’s] this ridiculous image of this continent, seven of the top ten fastest growing economies in the planet are African and of those seven, five are countries where Band Aid operated,” the Boomtown Rats singer said.

“His thing was you had to be positive about Africa, but then you have Angelique Kidjo and Emeli Sandé who were on the same attitude and I said there’s the world’s press, tell them about your point of view.“If there’s a line you can’t sing, change it and he said he just felt awkward.”

Fuse is not the only artist to oppose Band Aid 30’s message. Nigerian rapper Breis described the track’s lyrics as “ridiculous, misplaced, ignorant, backwards, nauseous, spiritually malevolent and condescending” in an angry attack on Twitter.

Blur’s Damon Albarn also criticised the image of Africa portrayed in the Band Aid 30 song, noting that there are “problems with our idea of charity”. “Having been to many countries and gotten to know many people, it always seems that we have only one view of it,” he said during an interview with Channel 4 News.

“There’s also this assumption that in Africa everyone knows what’s going on. Our perspective and our idea of what helps and our idea what’s wrong and right are not necessarily shared by other cultures.”

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More than 5,000 people have lost their lives from the Ebola virus in West Africa so far. “It renders humans untouchable and that’s sickening,” Geldof said of the disease. “Mothers can’t cradle their young and lovers can’t comfort each other.”

“Do They Know It’s Christmas?” raised £1 million in just five minutes on Sunday night after debuting on The X Factor results show. One Direction, Ed Sheeran, Ellie Goulding, Sam Smith, Bastille, Chris Martin and Rita Ora are among the big-name musicians lending their vocal support to the project.

UK chancellor George Osbourne has waived VAT on sales of the charity single, which is available to download now from iTunes for 99p.

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