US rapper Meek Mill has apologised for surreptitiously filming a music video in Ghana’s presidential palace, also known as Jubilee House.
The star caused uproar with the video, which saw him lip-syncing in the palace’s corridors and halls – and even behind the presidential lectern.
He was accused of “desecrating” Jubilee House, while MPs raised questions about the potential security risks.
In a statement, Mill said he would “take responsibility for my mistake”.
“To the people of Ghana, no video I drop is ever meant to disrespect the people of Ghana,” he wrote.
“The fastest way to make connection is thru music [sic] and I wanted to do that with displaying art. I’m in my 30s from America and didn’t know much about the lifestyle.”
He added that officials for Ghana’s president, Nana Akufo-Addo, may not have been aware he was shooting a music video, saying the set-up had been “a small camera and a kid”.
The president’s office has not commented on the story; and Mill has removed his video from Instagram.
Mill, who was born Robert Rihmeek Williams in South Philadelphia, travelled to Ghana last month, after learning in an ancestry test that he was 18% Ghanaian. He performed at the Afronation concert in Accra, rode dirt bikes in the city streets, and was later invited to see Jubilee House.
The footage he filmed during his visit was uploaded to Instagram on Sunday, provoking outrage in the West African nation. “All those responsible for this despicable desecration of the Jubilee House by Meek Mill must be fired immediately,” wrote Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, a member of parliament for the North Tongu district.
“How do those explicit lyrics from the president’s lectern project Ghana positively? Is Ghana’s seat of government no longer a high security installation?”
The MP, whose NDC party is in opposition to the President’s National Patriotic Party, said he would call for an inquiry into the incident when Parliament returns from recess. “We will insist that all those who masterminded this national disgrace and international embarrassment are brought to book,” he told Accra’s Joy FM radio station.
Ghana’s former deputy Chief of Staff Alex Segbefia agreed that the video was “unnecessary and is unacceptable in any shape or form”. Social activist Julius Kwame Anthony added that “seeing a foreign musician on the pulpit of the president” was a “shocking” incident that “is sinking our country to a new depth”. “I do not think under any circumstance would it be allowed for a Ghanaian musician [like] Shatta Wale or Stormboy to be on the pulpit of the President of the United States. It would not happen”.
In his statement, Mill explained that he had simply been excited to share his experiences in Ghana with the world.
“In America we didn’t know this existed and [were] excited to show [it] because they don’t show Ghana on our media much! So I’ll take responsibility for my mistake! Not intentional. “We still gonna push to make the connection between black people in America and Africa,” he added. “What I’m trying to do is more than a video and you should see coming soon! My apologies to the the office also!”