Damon Albarn has previously been accused of exploiting Black artists through the Africa Express project. In 2018, Petite Noir and Nabihah Iqbal condemned Africa Express for requesting they sign a contract waiving the rights to the music they and fellow artists made during a week-long session in South Africa in exchange for a £1 fee.
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At the time, Africa Express responded with a statement writing: “AE is not run to make a profit. As we pay all the travel, accommodation and other costs for Western artists joining us on trips, we ask them to volunteer their time. They can make a contribution to our costs if they are willing. We do not pay them. All our contracts are negotiated, discussed and agreed, not inflicted.
“The artists in Africa are treated differently, reflecting often different circumstances. We do pay them for their time… We ensure that all profits made from recordings - after costs - go to artists and the promotion of African music.”
Gorillaz recently paid tribute to legendary Nigerian drummer Tony Allen upon his death with the release of a collaboration with Tony Allen and Skepta.
Patrick Hinton is Mixmag's Digital Features Editor, follow him on Twitter
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