Madonna In Hot Water For Charity Dealings, Not Welcome As 'VIP': President Joyce Banda
Someone high up in the pecking order of Malawi is reportedly so mad at Madonna over her charity dealings that the superstar was stripped of her VIP status on a recent visit.
When the “Material Girl” finished her weeklong humanitarian trip on Saturday to the impoverished country, Madonna, her kids and her staff were diverted from the VIP section at the airport and forced to go through standard security checks with regular travelers, according to a Department of Aviation source,the Telegraph reported.
According to Trevor Neilson, president of Global Philanthropy Group –- the organization that oversees Madonna’s charity, “there was no ‘VIP Status’ to be lost,” he wrote in an email to The Huffington Post. “As anyone who has taken a flight knows, airports are always a hassle and this one is no different.”
While President Joyce Banda didn’t confirm that she had revoked Madge’s privileges, Banda complained to a reporter about the singer getting VIP access on her way in and about the way she treated the kids with whom she met during her visit.
"She just came unannounced and proceeded to villages and made poor people dance for her. And immigration officials opened the VIP lounge for her just because previously she enjoyed the VIP status," Banda told a journalist covering her trip, according to the paper.
Check out the Telegraph's full report about Madonna's trip here.
Undoubtedly, there is some beef between the Queen of Pop and the President of Malawi. However, it just isn’t so clear as to who’s at fault.
After Madonna suddenly announced in 2011 her plans to nix building an all-girls school, in favor of erecting 10 community schools, Lindiwe Chide, Malawi's Ministry of Education spokeswoman, said she was “fed up” with the way the star seemed to be using her charity work to just boost her image, Reuters reported.
The pop star’s rap took another hit in January when Malawi's Education Minister said that the schools the "Vogue" singer claimed to have built already existed before she hit the scene.
But a source close to the situation claimed that Kazembe made the damning statement only because Madonna fired Banda’s sister from serving as her nonprofit’s CEO. Banda's sister now works for the Ministry of Education.
Madonna has reportedly spent over $11 million of her own money on Malawian projects since 2006 and buildOn, the nonprofit Madonna partnered with, said in a statement that it built the schools with the superstar.
But before departing the country on her most recent jaunt, Madonna tried smoothing things with over with Banda by sending her a sweet (albeit kind of rambling) note.
On a bright yellow piece of stationery, on which her name was monogrammed, Madonna wrote the letter by hand –- complete with ample exclamation points and the sort of squiggly cursive a tween might reserve for a missive to her BFF.
It seems at first that the two have a cordial relationship, considering that Madonna addresses Malawi's first female president by her first name.
But while trying to strike a casual tone, Madonna slid into sloppy territory.
After congratulating Banda on her "new position," Madonna writes:
“What an honor and what a huge responsability.”
Despite the apparent tension between the two, the education activist concluded her note by saying that she will “continue to support the children of Malawi” and hopes to collaborate with Banda in the future.