Monday, May 26, 2008

This act brought to you by the military-industrial complex

Here's an odd thing, tucked away in the list of sponsors for the New Orleans Essence Music Festival. Alongside McDonalds, Coca-Cola and Wal-Mart, the US Army is ponying up some dollars to bring Kanye West, Mary J Blige and Rhianna to Louisiana.

Now, regardless of what you feel about the military, is it really appropriate for defence budget to be spent sponsoring a musical entertainment?

Presumably the idea is to try and sign up some extra troops to help with the various jobs that the army is currently engaged in; we're not sure - and, genuinely, would love to know - if the US Army is only sponsoring music events aimed mainly at young, black audiences in financially deprived areas, or if they'll be chipping in to help bring, say, Ozfest to LA this year.

Some of the artists on the bill - Jill Scott, for example - make much of their commitment to peace and love. How come they're at a gig where some of the tab for their show will be underwritten by recruiting for war?