Backlash after US rapper Meek Mill releases video shot at Ghana Presidential Palace

Robert Rihmeek Williams, popularly known as Meek Mill.

Robert Rihmeek Williams, popularly known as Meek Mill, performs in Atlanta, Georgia on March 25, 2017.

Photo credit: Rick Diamond | Getty Images | AFP

American rapper Meek Mill has received backlashin Ghanaafter releasing a video clip he shot within the premises of the Presidential Palace in the West African nation.

Mill, real name Robert Rihmeek Williams, was in the country in December as part of a visit to reconnect with a country he recently found he had ancestral ties to – he learnt through a DNA test that he had 18 percent ancestral link to the country.

The rapper’s visit coincided with the annual Afronation concert held in the capital Accra, where he performed.

Mill was later invited to the Jubilee House, the official residence of the Ghanaian president that is also referred to as the Presidential Palace.

It is believed that he could have secretly filmed his experience.

The video clip was uploaded on his Instagram on Sunday, prompting condemnation from Ghanaians.

The clip features various parts of Jubilee House, including corridors of the office complex, and Mill and his entourage even appear behind the presidential lectern.

Ghanaians, from lawmakers to celebrities, took to both mainstream and social media to express their anger. Some people are angry that the US rapper was given an opportunity that many citizens can only dream of – to access the facility.

Others are simply angry that Mill had easy access to the president to a point of touching him. They also pointed out his show of disrespect for appearing there in shorts.

And the lyrics, to others, contain words unfit to be said in a place like that. Some even say the video constitutes a potential security risk.

One journalist commented that a painful thing about the incident was that even Ghanaian journalists are hardly allowed access to Jubilee House, as the presidency is called officially.

The rapper later pulled down the video from his social media platforms and apologised in a tweet. He said that he did not mean to disrespect Ghana and blamed his action on inexperience as a young man from America.

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

But some people believe that heads must roll for the “despicable desecration” of the palace, as opposition lawmaker Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa put it.

Mr Ablakwa, a member of the former ruling party National Democratic Congress (NDC), which is now the main opposition to President Nana Akufo-Addo’s ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP), in a tweet expressed concern about the potential security implication of the rapper’s action.

“All those responsible for this despicable desecration of the Jubilee House by Meek Mill must be fired immediately,” he said in a tweet, questioning how the “explicit lyrics” could possibly project Ghana positively.

The lawmaker was also quoted vowing to call for an enquiry on the matter when parliament resumes.

“We will insist that all those who masterminded this national disgrace and international embarrassment are brought to book,” he told the privately owned Joy FM.

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