Minaj asked to consider cancelling Angola concert

Pop singer Nicki Minaj wrote in an Instagram post that she would be performing at a Christmas festival in Angola hosted by communications company Unitel.
Pop singer Nicki Minaj wrote in an Instagram post that she would be performing at a Christmas festival in Angola hosted by communications company Unitel.PHOTO: REUTERS

NEW YORK • The Human Rights Foundation is asking rapper Nicki Minaj to reconsider her scheduled performance in Angola tomorrow, citing a list of abuses committed by the President of the oil-rich African nation.

In an Instagram post, the 33-year-old said she would be performing at a Christmas festival hosted by communications company Unitel. In a letter published on Tuesday, the Human Rights Foundation said the company is controlled, in part, by the daughter of Mr Jose Eduardo dos Santos, who has ruled the country since 1979.

"Nicki Minaj is a global artist," the group's president, Mr Thor Halvorssen, said. "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."

It is not unusual for celebrities to receive seven-figure sums for performing in countries with questionable human rights records. Lately, celebrities have also been receiving some scrutiny: In 2013, Jennifer Lopez was criticised for accepting US$10 million to perform for Mr Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov, the President of Turkmenistan, who has long been accused of rigging elections and running a repressive government.

Minaj is likely to be paid well for her visit to Angola.

In 2013, Mariah Carey received US$1 million for performing there. The two performers have the same manager, the organisation said in the letter.

Minaj has not directly addressed the criticism in public.

NEW YORK TIMES

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 18, 2015, with the headline 'Minaj asked to consider cancelling Angola concert'. Print Edition | Subscribe