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Meek Mill apologizes for secretly shooting music video in Ghana’s presidential palace

Jan. 10, 2023 Updated Tue., Jan. 10, 2023 at 9:18 p.m.

Meek Mill attends the Fanatics Super Bowl Party at 3Labs on Feb. 12 in Culver City, Calif.  (Tribune News Service)
Meek Mill attends the Fanatics Super Bowl Party at 3Labs on Feb. 12 in Culver City, Calif. (Tribune News Service)
By Nardine Saad Los Angeles Times

Meek Mill has issued an apology for covertly shooting an explicit music video in Ghana’s presidential palace, known as Jubilee House.

The South Philadelphia hip-hop star visited the African nation last month, when he performed at the Afro Nation concert in the capital city, Accra. He also was invited by President Nana Akufo-Addo to see Jubilee House, where the emcee and his team were photographed, and recorded footage for the video. But when the “Going Bad” and “R.I.C.O.” rapper uploaded the clip to Instagram on Sunday, he ignited a firestorm among critics in the West African nation.

Mill, 35, born Robert Rihmeek Williams, was seen performing bits of his explicit song all over the palace, behind the presidential lectern and in various formal meeting rooms, prompting criticism from Ghanaian officials who accused the entertainer of desecrating Jubilee House.

But, he said, that was not his intention.

“To the people of Ghana no video I drop is ever meant to disrespect the people of Ghana,” Mill tweeted on Monday. “The fastest way to make connection is thru music and I wanted to do that with displaying art … im in my 30’s from America and didn’t know much about the lifestyle here.”

The “Dreams and Nightmares” musician has since taken down the clip but said that he would still “push to make the connection between black people in America and Africa.”

“(W)hat I’m trying to do is more than a video and you should see coming soon. My apologies to the office also.”

Ghana-based critics called out the rapper and directed outrage at the administration for allowing the video to be shot in the first place.

“All those responsible for this despicable desecration of the Jubilee House by Meek Mill must be fired immediately,” tweeted Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, a member of parliament for the North Tongu district whose NDC party opposes the president’s National Patriotic Party. “How do those explicit lyrics from the president’s lectern project Ghana positively? Is Ghana’s seat of government no longer a high security installation?”

The MP told Accra’s Joy FM radio station Monday that he would call for an investigation into the incident and insisted “that all those who masterminded this national disgrace and international embarrassment are brought to book.” (After Mill tweeted his apology, Ablakwa said he believed that the performer was being “quite sincere” but still had reservations about some of the rapper’s claims.)

Social activist Julius Kwame Anthony said that “seeing a foreign musician on the pulpit of the president” was a “shocking” incident that “is sinking our country to a new depth,” the BBC reported.

In a follow-up tweet, Mill noted that officials likely didn’t know the footage he was recording was for a music video.

“I don’t think they knew it was video footage when we asked to shoot,” he tweeted, adding that the set-up comprised “a small camera and one kid.”

“… in America we didn’t know this existed and was excited to show because they don’t show Ghana on our media much! So I’ll take responsibility for my mistake! Not intentional,” he added.

The criminal justice reform advocate – who recently learned that he has Ghanaian ancestry – also called for unity among the cultures, tweeting that he wanted to use the moment to mend relations.

“I’m just not here for no separation of anything black … we already separated enough and don’t understand each others cultures … let’s used this to help fix that and not more judgement towards each other!” he wrote.

Mill returned to Twitter after that to bring attention to his philanthropic work. The rapper, actor-comedian Kevin Hart and Fanatics chairman Michael Rubin pledged Monday to donate $7 million to Philadelphia-area educational causes, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer, using most of the money to support scholarships for low-income students at private schools for the upcoming school year.

“Gotta get the whole trap booming too … we come from public schools side!!!!!” Mill tweeted, later adding, “You see the blogs didn’t catch this one they highlight anything negative about their own people, it’s getting readable!”

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