French President Emmanuel Macron is set to meet the musician Rihanna this week on the sidelines of the Global Partnership for Education conference in Senegal, hoping to secure her endorsement of his government's drive to promote girls education on the continent as he makes his seventh official visit to the continent since his election in May of 2017.
The #Rihanna touch: #Macron will be hand in hand on Friday with the mega star in #Senegal to promote #education. Still some in his @Elysee team seem to think that meeting a popstar is below their dignity… with @RobW_U #Africa @ClaraLionelFdn https://t.co/Ruh5TILZzZ pic.twitter.com/DLuKAWsTmp— Helene Fouquet (@HeleneFouquet) January 30, 2018
Some of the French leader's entourage have reportedly taken issue with the planned meeting, suggesting that it is undignified for such a prominent politician. Some fans of the popstar on the other hand seem to feel the same way about Mr. Macron himself.
Rihanna should not grace Macron with her presence— Foe to Princes 🐰 (@ifthedevilisix) January 30, 2018
I'm not actually bagging on her for this lol it's just a weird coupling and kind of surreal and gave me an opportunity to say WTF out loud again— Foe to Princes 🐰 (@ifthedevilisix) January 30, 2018
Rihanna had previously met the First lady of France, Brigitte Macron in July 2017 at the Elysee Palace seeking support for the Fund Education initiative.
The French involvement in West Africa has become particularly intense since the election President Macron, with its military footprint expanding in the region, ostensibly to combat terrorist organizations and train local security forces to stem the flow of refugees crossing the Sahara desert en route to the Mediterranean and Europe.
Mr. Macron provoked controversy in 2017 when he attributed problems in Africa such as war, underdevelopment and violence against women and children to "civilizational issues," which many saw as patronizing and an attempt to ignore France's colonial role in the region.