Antigua considers Mary J. Blige for cultural ambassador

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A report from the St. Lucia Times.

The consideration by Cabinet to make multi-Grammy winner, Mary J. Blige, a cultural ambassador can only be a win for Antigua and Barbuda.

The government’s chief-of-staff, Lionel ‘Max’ Hurst, expressed the view in an OBSERVER media interview Thursday.

He said that the large fan base of the American celebrity was the reason for considering to appoint her to the non-paying position. He elaborated that having celebrities as cheerleaders for the country can only be beneficial.

“She has a large audience of people who follow her, because her work is outstanding and when you attract [someone] with that kind of following to work for your country for no cost, the country benefits tremendously,” he said.

According to Hurst, celebrities and well-known individuals are often asked to become cultural ambassadors. He noted that Robert De Niro was a cultural ambassador for Antigua and Barbuda.

Although, the Cabinet did not receive any clear indication from Blige or her agents that she is willing, Hurst was confident that the government can persuade her to accept the appointment.

He added that if she accepts the position, the government would provide more details about her specific role in advancing Antigua and Barbuda’s culture.

“She hasn’t agreed to it yet, we just broached the subject [Wednesday] and we are in touch with her. At some point it will happen, and when it does, we will have very specific duties,” he said.

Blige was on a week-long holiday in Antigua, until Wednesday.

News emerged of her visit when she posted a short video in which she was enjoying herself at one of the country’s beaches on social media.

Before leaving the island, she was invited to Wednesday’s Cabinet meeting with the Prime Minister Gaston Browne and his Ministers.

According to Hurst, the American celebrity told the Cabinet that she enjoyed Antigua and found the country “heavenly”.

She last visited Antigua in 2013, as part of the filming of the British television music competition, X-Factor.

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