Nicki Minaj criticized over Angola concert plans

LUANDA, Angola – Rights groups on Wednesday, December 16 called on US hip-hop star Nicki Minaj to cancel an upcoming concert in Angola, saying her performance would endorse the authoritarian rule of long-time President Jose Eduardo dos Santos.

Minaj is due on stage on Saturday, December 19 in the Angolan capital Luanda for a Christmas concert hosted by the Unitel communications firm, which is part owned by dos Santos's family.

Fellow US singer Mariah Carey was criticized in 2013 for performing in front of President dos Santos, who has governed the southern African nation for 36 years.

"Nicki Minaj is following in the footsteps of Mariah Carey, callously taking money from a dictator... who has effectively and ruthlessly choked free expression," said Jeffery Smith, of the Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights center.

"This sustained crackdown on basic human rights in Angola has swept up activists, opposition members, journalists, and even musicians."

Dos Santos, 73, has been accused of overseeing corruption, misrule and intimidation in a country that suffers endemic poverty despite being Africa's second-largest oil producer.

"Nicki Minaj is a global artist. 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.

Angola marked 40 years of independence from Portugal last month, with dos Santos vowing to bring progress to the country, but critics accuse him of ruling through fear and repression.

Minaj has appeared in a Unitel clip on Facebook, promoting her Angola show. – Rappler.com