Sunday, November 10, 2013

What can we do to get celebrities to accept North Korea as today's version of "Sun City"?

I ain't gonna play Sun City.

That was the refrain in the 1980s, when celebrity after celebrity stated they would not support South Africa's oppression in any way, shape, or form until Apartheid were dismantled.

Perhaps we need to revisit this notion, as obscure basketballer Dennis Rodman and now obscure rap artists Pacman and Peso have been heading for Pyongyang to make headlines (and perhaps a little bit of money).

From the Huffington Post:
Two Washington, D.C. rappers are readying themselves for a trip to North Korea in the hopes of becoming famous.

Rappers Pacman and Peso, whose real names are Anthony Bobb and Dontray Ennis, first made headlines back in September, when the Washington Post got hold of their plan to go to North Korea and film a music video with the help of a Kickstarter fund. Pacman and Peso had teamed up with Ramsey Aburdene, a commercial lending professional and aspiring producer. They then met Michael Bassett, a veteran once stationed in the demilitarized zone between North and South Korea. Bassett studies the region in grad school and helps plan cultural exchange tours.

Then, the idea was hatched to go to the Hermit Kingdom, film the video, have it go viral and become superstars.

“This is my only option now,” Peso, who said he could be "doing wrong in the streets or get locked up," told the Washington Post of the North Korea trip. “If it was to work.”

Now, the plan is a reality. Their Kickstarter fund, "Pacman & Peso Make A Music Video In North Korea," has since raise more than $10,000, surpassing their goal of $6,000.

The rappers will head to North Korea in two weeks, the Washington Post reported Friday. After a $5,100 donation from hedge fund manager James Passin, they applied for passports and set a date for their guided tour.

“We’re not trying to be political heroes or anything like that,” Aburdene told the Guardian. “We understand there is terrible stuff going on in North Korea, but there is terrible stuff going on here that people aren’t straight up about.”
Terrible stuff in DC has little to do — in kind or degree — with terrible stuff in the DPRK. This is a publicity stunt, and it's disappointing that they got $10K to do it.

I am of two minds when it comes to individuals taking private tours and doing do-gooder stuff* in North Korea — I think such individuals undermine the propaganda message of self-reliance and demonization of outsiders — but celebrities (even minor ones) tend to legitimize the regime.

*If all goes well, I might end up on a medical mission of sorts working within North Korea. 



  1. The Nork regime is the most evil institution currently in existence on this globe.


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