A section of Tanzanians has launched a petition to have their star musician Diamond Platnumz disqualified from the Black Entertainment Television (BET) awards.
The petition against Diamond, real name Naseeb Juma, and who is considered one of, if not, the most popular musician in East Africa was launched on Change.org, and is based on his support of the late Tanzanian President John Magufuli.
The Waah hitmaker has been nominated for the Best International Act prize but by Sunday some 16,000 people had signed the petition to block him from potentially winning it.
“Diamond Platnumz is a world-renowned Tanzania music artist who used his popularity and his talent to whitewash and deodorize the brutal repression of the late dictator John Magufuli and his regime.
"Diamond is also a close friend and business ally of Paul Makonda the former Governor of Dar-es-Salaam who has openly persecuted and cracked down on LGBTI people,” the petition reads in part.
“Makonda has also been designated in 2020 by the US State Department for gross violations of human rights including cracking down on freedom of expression and association,” it adds.
But the musician has since received support from a lawmaker.
“Tunaomba Diamond Platnumz asaidiwe kushinda tuzo anayogombea (we pray he wins the award), in the name of the country,” MP Nusrat Hanje said.
During the campaign season leading to the November general elections in Tanzania, Diamond was a vocal supporter of Dr. Magufuli and even released a song that was played throughout his campaign.
Magufuli died in March with the government attributing his death to a heart condition.
“After the BET Awards 2021 nomination for the best international act, Diamond took to the media and spoke disparagingly of activists, then paid a visit to the ruling (Chama Cha Mapinduzi) CCM party’s headquarters whereby his nomination was hailed as some sort of achievement for the party and the nation.”
Diamond will be battling against other African artists including BurnaBoy and Wizkid from Nigeria.
BET Awards 2021 is scheduled for Sunday, June 27, with a live show audience from Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles.