Nicki Minaj Tweets About Playing Angola After Human Rights Foundation’s Urgent Plea
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Despite an urgent plea from Human Rights Foundation (HRF) president and CEO Thor Halvorssen to cancel her upcoming concert in Luanda, Angola, due to the country’s continuous alleged human rights violations, it looks as though Grammy Award-winning rapper Nicki Minaj plans to carry on with the show.
HRW's Noemi Gonzalo-Bilbao tells Samaritanmag it has not received a response from Minaj or her representative, but that she has since tweeted about the event.
“ANGOLA! R u ready for the show?!???! Can’t wait to see you guys,” Minaj tweeted Dec. 16 before providing an Instagram link for people to obtain tickets for the Dec. 19 concert at Estadio Dos Conqueiros.
Sponsor and promoter of the Christmas party is the mobile telephone company Unitel, owned by Isabel dos Santos, daughter of Angolan dictator José Eduardo dos Santos, accused of three decades worth of human rights violations.
In a Dec. 15 letter addressed directly to Minaj, care of her management Brian Sher at Category 5 Entertainment, and made public on HRF’s web site, Halvorssen suggests that if Minaj continues with the show, “you will be in league with the people stealing educational resources and opportunity from young Angolans. As a strong-willed independent artist shouldn’t you be advocating for the release of the imprisoned rapper Luaty Beirão rather than entertaining the dictator and his thieving family?
“HRF believes that your participation in a performance sponsored by a thuggish kleptocratic dynasty involved in gross human rights violations would be improper,” Halvorseen wrote. “Furthermore, it would be disastrous for a public figure of your standing who has articulated a commitment to education and social justice.
“Ms. Minaj, the payment you are receiving from your Angolan sponsors is the result of government corruption and human rights violations,” Halvorssen added.
The Human Rights Foundation (HRF) “is a nonpartisan nonprofit organization that promotes and protects human rights globally, with a focus on closed societies…Our mission is to ensure that freedom is both preserved and promoted around the world.”
In the letter, Halvorseen explains José Eduardo dos Santos’s dictatorship is responsible “violating the rights of millions of Angolans” during the regime’s “brutal three-decade authoritarian rule,” as they’ve exploited the country’s “diamond and oil wealth to amass an illegitimate fortune while maintaining control over all the branches of the government, the military and civil society.”
“Dos Santos has made it his policy to harass, imprison or kill politicians, journalists and activists who protest his rule,” Halvorssen writes, accusing the dictator of controlling the media through “the only national radio station,” “the one daily newspaper” and exerting “control over Angola’s television station.”
“Artists such as yourself are not allowed to freely express their opinions in Angola, where criticizing the government is a crime punishable with fines and imprisonment,” Halvorssen wrote.
The HRF president and CEO also said the Dos Santos’ family’s “human rights crimes” have been documented over the past three decades by such organizations as Freedom House, Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International and the Committee to Protect Journalists.”
Nicki Minaj and Sher have yet to respond to Halvorssen’s letter, but if she does perform as scheduled on the 19th, she won’t be the first: in 2013, Mariah Carey performed at an Angola Red Cross gala and was reportedly paid $1 million for the show, which was also sponsored by Unitel.
* Samaritanmag.com is an online magazine covering the good deeds of individuals, charities and businesses.