By Yusef Taylor, @FlexDan_YT
Gainako Newspaper has been reliably informed that the ‘Malaw’ Gambian artists, Baboucarr Sambou, commonly known as Bai Babu, has refused to honour an agreement to perform at a charity event after assisting him to secure his visa to the UK. Charity organiser Mrs Etta Haffner contacted Gainako Newspaper to register her disappointment that Bai Babu went AWOL and refused to call and return her calls after he was issued with a visa to the UK. The only thing she can thank God for was that she didn’t pay for his ticket.
Gainako Newspaper has received evidence of the letter sent for the self-styled Rap-Mbalakh Landlord’s visa application, which he eventually secured. According to the complaint received the ‘Taxi Man’ artist used to call Mrs Haffner frequently, culminating in her financing and supporting the Gambian Artists to make his breakthrough in the UK. Gambians in the UK are rejoicing with the Fahass superstar at the Gambian Cultural Weekend taking place this bank holiday weekend. Unfortunately, he won’t be performing at the charity event as they have been forced to cancel due to lack of communication to confirm a date. This has caused her inconvenience as she had already progressed plans for the event and started advertising on social media. According to her, this was in consultation with the artist, who confirmed that she can progress with the event and promotion. This is why she decided to clear the air and hopes that such an unfortunate incident does not repeat itself. At the same time, she humbly apologizes to everybody that has been disappointed by the cancellation due to reasons beyond her control.
The deal was very simple, the organiser wanted to see this young Gambian artist make it big in the UK and supported him to get here. He would come on a visit, go anywhere and perform without paying a penny to her. In return, Bai Babu was to be the solo artist at her charity event. She hopes that the truth be known and that somebody pulls this young man aside and have a frank discussion with him because there is no doubt he has exceptional talent but what he did is wrong. There is a common phrase in Gambia ‘Banjul daffa ndaw’ or as Bai Babu says in Taxi Man, ‘Banjul fu haat la’. Hopefully, he makes a turn for the better and realises that he threw away a great opportunity to make a positive impact on the lives of young people through this charity.
Efforts were made to contact Bai Babu, however, they proved unsuccessful as he has refused to respond to claims that he did not honour his agreement with the UK charity. It must be noted that his promotional team have communicated with the charity organiser and have claimed to have financed his trip and letters for his application. It is possible for an applicant to receive and submit multiple support letters to strengthen their application. Nonetheless, the charity organiser has retained all paper trails including letters and receipts to protect their integrity. They would like to move forward from this unfortunate incident and seize this opportunity to encourage all proud Gambians to support Gambian talent. This support needs to be genuine with positive advice to ensure our artists mature into true professionals with high integrity. Artist and musicians should represent the best in us as a people especially when on tour outside the country.
Below is the letter sent to Bai Babu from the charity organiser.
Mrs Etta Haffner
Women’s Foundation Trust
25th August 2017
Dear Mr Baboucarr Sambou AKA Bai Babu,
I have not heard from you and I am really disappointed with you. Our initial agreement and arrangement was that I write an invitation letter for you to come over to the U.K. to perform for my charity (which I did, and on the basis of my letter you were granted a visa) and being grateful for that I paid your visa fee.
If however you had no intention to perform for my charity it would have been kind of you to have informed me in advance and you should not have accepted the visa fees from me either.
Since you were granted the visa, you have been distant and have not even bothered to correspond anymore. Even if you had changed your mind about the concert it was still important that you tell me, so that I did not the book the hall etc. You made me look so low in front of my organisation and I wasted my time and money to make this happen i.e. Printing flyers, part payments for the hall etc.
I am liable to cancel your visa under immigration law, however I am not crude enough to do so, but I do expect a courtesy reply to this email from you. If you do not respond by 6pm today I will take action with immediate effect.
Mrs Etta Haffner
cc: M Haddy Faye