Rapper Nicki Minaj has been a controversial figure lately. As New York Post reports, he performed in Angola at an event sponsored by an organization with links to country’s dictator, Jose Eduardo dos Santos.
Angola, a former Portuguese colony, is doing quite well in recent years, mostly due to its mineral wealth. It hasn’t fared as well on the human rights front. Mr. Santos runs the country as a dictator and has been known for suppressing political opposition.
Opponents, including other politicians and journalists, have been harassed and imprisoned, with some allegedly killed.
Despite its immense oil and diamond deposits, Angola is a country where more than 70% of population lives for under $1 a day. Meanwhile, the country’s dictator is accused of acquiring massive wealth at the expense of his own people.
Before the concert occurred, The Human Rights Foundation’s president, Thor Halvorssen, pleaded with the rapper to cancel the performance, claiming the money she’ll receive ($2 million)comes from corruption and human rights violations. Yet, Minaj couldn’t resist and went on with the concert.
Other celebrities are known to perform for dictators in exchange for large payouts. Take Mariah Carey who sang for the former Libyan dictator’s family in 2008. The Khadafy family paid $1 million for the service.
Kanye West got $3 million to perform for the grandchildren of Nursultan Nazarbayev, Kazakhstan’s President, a man with dubious human rights record.
The Human Rights Foundation keeps an eye on such events and exposes those willing to perform for thugs in exchange for pay. The organization was founded and is presided over by Thor Halvorssen, who’s also a film producer. He started the foundation after his mother was shot in a political protest back in 2004.
In addition, he has founded The Oslo Foundation. Every year, this organization brings together well-known public figures, including Nobel Prize winners and top policymakers. On top of it, Mr. Halvorssen documentaries expose human rights abuses.