Over the last several years, the Human Rights Foundation has called out celebrities who have seemingly showed their support for countries ran by corrupt dictators, and now they have their sight set on Nicki Minaj.
Minaj is scheduled to perform in Angola on Saturday, but Thor Halvorssen, president of HRF, is pleading with her to cancel.
The country, which is ruled by president Jose Eduardo dos Santos, currently has democracy activists who questioned human rights abuses locked up without charges or a trial. The Angola 15, which includes Angolan hip-hop artist Luaty Beirao, spoke out against the Angolan government and most likely will not be let out of jail.
In an open letter to Minaj, Halvorssen writes:
During their brutal three-decade authoritarian rule, the dos Santos family has exploited Angola’s diamond and oil wealth to amass an illegitimate fortune while maintaining control over all 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. In Angola, independent media are subject to systematic legal and physical persecution. Journalists are routinely arrested, beaten, and even disappeared when covering corruption matters and exposing the dos Santos criminal enterprise. Beyond censoring through violence, the Angolan regime owns the only national radio station, controls the only daily newspaper, and exerts control over Angola’s television stations. 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.
Ms. Minaj, you are well-known for being involved with charities such as the Get Schooled Foundation, which helps motivate young people to graduate from high school and succeed in college. Yet, if you move forward with this performance for the dictator and his family, 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?
The HRF has called out other celebrities before, so Minaj isn’t any exception.
Clutchettes, do you think she should perform in Angola?