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King Jackson irks Africans

Singer Michael Jackson was crowned an African king in a brief village ceremony Saturday but raised eyebrows when he shed his royal robe as soon as he was enthroned.

The 33-year-old pop star, in Ivory Coast on a five-nation tour to film scenes for a Return to Africa video, drove to the eastern village of Krinjabo to be crowned a king of the Agni tribe.

"Here you are, back in the land of your ancestors," a village spokesman told Jackson. Two bare-breasted girls fanned the singer.

But Jackson stripped off most of the trappings of royalty immediately after the enthronement ceremony, which lasted about five minutes.

Africans said it went against the grain to remove the royal garb before leaving the village.

"Young people in Ivory Coast love Michael Jackson because his talents as a singer and performer are undeniable. But his communication talents are lacking," the daily Fraternite Matin said in a Saturday editorial.