Beyoncé Knowles gave at a private concert on New Year's Eve for the son of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, according to reports, performing five songs at a club on the Caribbean island of St Barts.
The R&B star's performance reportedly followed a similar gig at the end of 2008, when her husband Jay-Z appeared with Mariah Carey at the same nightclub, Nikki Beach. While the 2008 concert was thrown by 37-year-old Saif al-Islam Gaddafi, this year's event seems to have been hosted by Saif's brother, known as Hannibal. The New York Post reports that Carey was paid $1m (£625,000) for her song and dance -- $2m is rumoured for Beyoncé's hour-long warble. Usher also took the stage, with Jon Bon Jovi, Lindsay Lohan, Russell Simmons and models Miranda Kerr and Victoria Silvstedt in the crowd....
Hannibal Gaddafi does not exactly have a sterling reputation. His father aside, Hannibal has been involved in several reported assaults, including alleged attacks on Italian police officers, Swiss hotelworkers, and his own wife, Aline Skaf, though no charges were made.
You can read that story and damn Beyoncé for entertaining the thuggish son of a tyrant, or you can take it as another sign that liberatory vulgar culture is infiltrating the Muslim world. Or maybe you'll just marvel at the news that Jon Bon Jovi was on Qaddafi's guest list. Hell, you can do all three.
Elsewhere in Reason: Our March issue will include a travelogue from Tripoli by Michael Moynihan. In the meantime, here's a brief item I wrote about Col. Gaddafi's occasional pledges to abolish the state.