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article imageNicki Minaj's concert for dictator alarms human rights group

By Kavelle Christie     Dec 17, 2015 in Entertainment
Rapper, Nicki Minaj has alarmed human rights activists by agreeing to perform at a holiday party in Angola for the communications company Unitel on Saturday.
The mobile phone company which was established in 2001 is controlled by Isabel dos Santos, daughter of Angolan dictator, José Eduardo dos Santos.
According to a 2013 Forbes investigative article, Isabel who is worth in excess of $3 billion — making her Africa's only female billionaire — acquired most of her wealth "either from taking a chunk of a company that wants to do business in the country or from a stroke of the president’s pen that cut her into the action."
In comparison to the dos Santos family, the average Angolan lives on a mere $2 per day.
“Nicki Minaj is a global artist. Millions of people look up to her for creative inspiration. There is no good reason for her to do business with the corrupt Angolan dictatorship and endorse the ruler’s family company,” said Human Rights Foundation president Thor Halvorssen in a statement.
“Nicki Minaj has been involved with charities such as the Get Schooled Foundation, which helps inspire young people to graduate from high school and succeed in college,” said Halvorssen. “What kind of inspirational message is she sending to millions of young Angolans by performing for the dictatorship that has literally stolen their freedom and their future?”
Halvorssen went further by penning a letter to the multi-platinum singer and her team saying, "Ms. Minaj, the payment you are receiving from your Angolan sponsors is the result of government corruption and human rights violations."
He called the outspoken singer's attention to the dictator's systematic legal and physical persecution of politicians, journalists, and activists who criticize the government.
This includes Angolan rapper, Luaty Beirão, who was imprisoned along with 16 other young activists in June for meeting to read the Gene Sharp book about nonviolent resistance, “From Dictatorship to Democracy".
“HRF hopes Nicki Minaj will cancel her trip and instead issue a statement of solidarity with those jailed this month for opposing the dictatorship including rapper and hip-hop artist Luaty Beirão," said Halvorssen in his letter.
Beirão who is now recovering from a 36-day hunger strike is currently on trial for "preparing acts of rebellion" alongside the other activists.
Neither Minaj nor her manager has responded to HRF's statement yet.
Last year, the southwestern African country which has been ruled by dos Santos since 1979, was ranked 161 out of 175 countries in Transparency International's corruption index.
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