Criticisms - A lack of African presence

London-based group Black Information Link described the list of performers at the Hyde Park event as "hideously white", noting that Mariah Carey, Ms Dynamite, and Snoop Dogg are the only non-white performers scheduled to perform at the event. Damon Albarn re-iterated this criticism, saying that "This country [the UK] is incredibly diverse," he said. "More than ever, black culture is an integral part of society. So why is the bill so damn Anglo-Saxon?" Black Eyed Peas, Alicia Keys, Destiny's Child, Jay-Z, and Kanye West also turned up at Philadelphia to perform. Albarn is now reportedly happy about Live 8 now that they have addressed his criticism. He told a reporter on 21 June: "I have said certain things in relation to the density of African performers... In some way that's been addressed and that's really good... Live 8 will make a difference – it's already created a debate that we're all involved in." A Live 8 spokesman said that a number of black performers had been approached to participate and that the event would feature a "large urban element", and pointed to the number of artists of African descent like Ms Dynamite. However, Youssou N'Dour and Dave Matthews of Dave Matthews Band, remained the only African-born artists signed to perform at the main concerts. Bob Geldof originally said that this was because he had aimed for the biggest-selling, most popular artists to ensure a large television audience; but critics noted that even if this was acceptable as the sole criterion for inclusion, some of the minor white artists signed up were substantially less well-known than some major African artists. Bob Geldof has been accused of compounding the original error by announcing an entirely African line-up ("Africa Calling") at a concert to be held at the Eden Project in Cornwall on the same day as the main Live 8 concerts.

The concert was also been criticized by African intellectuals for not addressing issues such as corruption and governance. A Cameroonian op-ed appearing in the New York Times stated: "Who here [in Africa] wants a concert against poverty when an African is born, lives and dies without ever being able to vote freely? But the truth is that it was not for us, for Africa, that the musicians at Live 8 were singing; it was to amuse the crowds and to clear their own consciences, and whether they realized it or not, to reinforce dictatorships. They still believe us to be like children that they must save, as if we don't realize ourselves what the source of our problems is."  

Artists' careers

As with many charity events before it, Live 8 has come in for some criticism in the media. Some of these criticisms are not specific to Live 8 but representative of a particular point of view concerning western attitudes towards Africa. However, some criticisms are directed at Geldof himself and the motives for Live 8:

"I am coming, reluctantly, to the conclusion that Live 8 is as much to do with Geldof showing off his ability to push around presidents and prime ministers as with pointing out the potential of Africa. Indeed, Geldof appears not to be interested in Africa's strengths, only in an Africa on its knees." 

Geldof is criticised for using Africa as "a catwalk" which is more about reviving the careers of ageing rock stars than about helping the poor in Africa. For example, some fans and music critics feel that some of the lineups, such as that in Barrie, are not only largely ethnically homogeneous but not likely to connect with, or speak to, younger fans.

Many believed that it was hypocrisy that many of the performing artists had tens (if not hundreds) of millions of dollars of "spare cash" lying in their bank accounts whilst wanting to "Make Poverty History". On stage, Kanye West criticised G8 politicians for riding in Bentleys and Benzs, although he himself owns 12 vehicles. [Even more controversially, West also used the global platform to make claims of "man-made diseases placed in African communities", a reference to the widely-held belief that AIDS was created to exterminate Africans.] Counter-critics, however, point out that these celebrities are still not rich enough to be able to cancel the debts of nations. Damon Albarn also suggested that the performers' record labels should pay "a tariff" as the accompanying publicity would increase future record sales and hence their profits. Live 8, it is important to note, is not a charity event. Indeed, public figures and media have since called on the artists and their record labels to donate the profits of increased sales that followed appearance at the event. More criticism has been levelled at the performers based on what they will be bringing home for participating in the concert. While they received no monetary compensation, they have been given gift bags containing lavish gifts. These gift bags contain designer goodies valued at approximately $3000.

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