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Human Rights Groups Blast Erykah Badu For Singing ‘Happy Birthday’ To Swaziland’s King

Flickr/Benny Chandra
Erykah Badu performing in 2012.

Five stories that have North Texas talking: a popular vet in Fort Worth is under investigation; the Dallas mayor says Toyota chose Plano over Dallas because of DISD; why did Erykah Badu sing “Happy Birthday” to the Swaziland king?; and more:

Dallas’ very own Erykah Badu is in hot water for traveling to Swaziland to sing “Happy Birthday” to that country’s king. She’s being criticized because of King Mswati III’s lavish lifestyle and his many wives. Jeffrey Smith with the Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice and Human Rights told The Washington Post that it was "highly unfortunate” that Badu “would use her star power for inherently reprehensible reasons – namely, to provide legitimacy, and, in a sense, endorse a brutal dictator who both manages and directs every facet of Africa's last absolute monarchy." On Twitter, Badu defended herself. Badu told The Dallas Morning News she received a request to perform at the last second since someone else had dropped out. “I was not endorsing the king or helping to further his political agenda,” she told The News. “I can’t be held responsible for the situation in the kingdom because I signed up as an artist, not as a political activist.”

  • A customer is accusing a popular Fort Worth veterinarian of stealing animals and conducting blood transfusions on a dog that was supposed to be euthanized. On Tuesday, officers stood guard outside the Camp Bowie Animal Clinic as investigators seized two dogs. Jamie and Marian Harris of Aledo filed a report to the state last week, alleging animal cruelty at the clinic.  They learned their 5-year-old dog, Sid, a Leonberger, was still alive, six months after he was supposed to have been euthanized because of a congenital spine disease. Marian Harris alleges her dog was being bled for plasma by veterinarian Lou Tierce. KERA made repeated attempts to reach the veterinarian, but he declined to comment. “The betrayal, it’s just, you know, it’s indescribable,” Marian Harris told KERA’s Doualy Xaykaothao. Read more from KERA News.

  • Toyota chose to move its national headquarters to Plano over Dallas in part because of the state of the Dallas ISD, Mayor Mike Rawlings said Tuesday on KERA. The big elephant in the room is we don’t get Toyota in Dallas because of the school system,” Rawlings said. “We’ve talked to them and they want to be in Plano. And 7-Eleven left." The mayor's comments came during an hour-long discussion of the pros and cons of the controversial home-rule school proposal on KERA's "Think" Tuesday afternoon. Rawlings and Dallas ISD school board member Bernadette Nutall discussed home-rule. Listen to the conversation here.

  • Last month, Gov. Rick Perry was baptized in the same creek as Sam Houston. The Texas Tribune reports: “With only close friends and family looking on, the born-again Christian governor was baptized outdoors, in the spring waters once used to wash the sins off Sam Houston, the first elected president of the Republic of Texas and one of the most colorful political figures in American history. … [Perry’s] office confirmed that the ceremony took place last month. And the pastor whose congregation still uses the creek for baptisms recounted the governor’s subsequent visit to the nearby church, where he said Perry played a soulful hymn on the organ and soaked up the rich local history.”

  • Seems the RomoCurse is spreading. On Twitter, folks are complaining that any time Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo attends a big game, the team loses. It happened Monday night when the Dallas Mavericks lost to the San Antonio Spurs in Game 4 of their playoff series. It happened Sunday when the Dallas Stars lost to the Anaheim Ducks in their playoff series. It happened in late March when the SMU basketball team lost to Cal. #RomoCurse and #BlameRomo were trending on Twitter nationally.

(Photo Credit: Flickr/Benny Chandra)

Eric Aasen is KERA’s managing editor. He helps lead the station's news department, including radio and digital reporters, producers and newscasters. He also oversees, the station’s news website, and manages the station's digital news projects. He reports and writes stories for the website and contributes pieces to KERA radio. He's discussed breaking news live on various public radio programs, including The Takeaway, Here & Now and Texas Standard, as well as radio and TV programs in New Zealand and the United Kingdom.