Phar­rell faces stormy SA tour

Lesotho Times - - Entertainment -

CAPE TOWN — Con­certs sched­uled by US pop s star Phar­rell Wil­liams in South Africa next month face dis­rup­tions from pro-palestines tine protesters over a pro­mo­tional deal he hhas with ma­jor re­tailer Wool­worths, which has trade ties with Is­rael.

Th the Grammy award-win­ning pro­ducer er an­dan per­former has been tar­geted by the Ssouth African branch of the in­ter­na­tion ational Boy­cott, Di­vest­ment and Sanc­tions againa­gainst Is­rael (BDS) move­ment. It ob­jects to Is is­rael’s 48-year-old oc­cu­pa­tion of ter­ri­torir­i­to­ries where Pales­tini­ans seek an in­de­pend pen­dent state.

Wiwil­liams is col­lab­o­rat­ing with Wool­worth worths on its Are You With Us cam­paign, act in act­ing as style di­rec­tor on sev­eral sus­tain­abil­ity-fo­cused projects en­com­pass­ing fash­ion and fundrais­ing for ed­u­ca­tion.

“He is about to face the big­gest back­lash any artist has faced in South Africa in over 30 years, since the days of apartheid,” said Braam Hanekom, a BDS South Africa board mem­ber.

“He is walk­ing into a very an­gry, un­happy en­vi­ron­ment be­cause he has cho­sen to walk with Wool­worths,” Hanekom told Reuters af­ter the City of Cape Town de­nied an ap­pli­ca­tion by thou­sands to protest at Phar­rell’s first con­cert on 21 Septem­ber. The venue, Grand West Casino, has also said they will not al­low any protests on their prop­erty.

He said protesters could block roads on con­cert nights, po­ten­tially de­lay­ing pro­ceed­ings, or even rally in­side venues.

Phar­rell’s rep­re­sen­ta­tives did not re­spond im­me­di­ately for com­ment. Grand West Casino, where the Cape Town con­cert will take place, said they would not al­low any protests on their prop­erty. The sec­ond con­cert is in Johannesburg.

Pro-palestine marches in South Africa of­ten at­tract large crowds, es­pe­cially in Cape Town with its large Mus­lim com­mu­nity.

Wool­worths said in a state­ment that it did not source pro­duce from the oc­cu­pied ter­ri­to­ries, less than 0.1 per­cent of its food came from Is­rael and that it clearly la­belled ev­ery prod­uct’s coun­try of ori­gin.

The global BDS move­ment has also cam­paigned against Bri­tish se­cu­rity firm G4S over its Is­rael links. It says its pleas have prompted mu­si­cians in­clud­ing Ir­ish rocker Sinead O’con­nor and hip hop star Lau­ryn Hill to sup­port its cause. — Reuters

Phar­rel­lPhar Wil­liams.

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