The Show Unitel Boas Festas, dubbed a “Christmas Festival,” became controversial due to the country’s ruler, who is part-owner of the festival’s sponsor, Unitel.
In a statement posted online last week, the HRF wrote, “Jose Eduardo dos Santos has ruled Angola since seizing power in the fall of 1979. A cunning tyrant, dos Santos survived a legacy of colonialism and devastating civil war to consolidate control over the presidency, military, and judicial system, all while crushing independent journalism and civil society. He uses rigged elections to fake democratic credentials, and his suppression of dissent is ruthless. As part of a national wave of arrests his regime has put 17 activists on trial for reading books on nonviolent resistance. Earlier this year, his security officers carried out and covered up a massacre of hundreds of civilians.”
The statement further claimed Santos “exploited Angola’s vast natural resource wealth to build an enormous business empire” and he and his family steal “what they want from Africa’s second largest oil producer.”
Minaj posted videos and photos to Instagram before her show. “Angola has my heart,” she captioned one video of the cheering crowd. In others posts, she posed next to “the 8th richest woman in the world. (At least that’s what I was told by someone [before] we took this photo),” and featured footage of herself on stage waving Angola’s flag.
Directly referencing Minaj, HRF wrote, “Minaj’s payday is all the more jarring given that she and her managers joined the chorus of the Black Lives Matter movement. It appears that when those black lives happen to be in Angola, their lives matter less than a paycheck from a dictator.”