It’s difficult to choose which is worse for Nicki Minaj in her latest self-indulgent escapade. First, the famous rapper left her longtime boyfriend housebound in his home state of Pennsylvania so that she could get on a private jet with friends to party it up on a trans-Atlantic flight. The plane was reportedly full of champagne and other treats for the rapper and her girlfriends. Meek Mills, Minaj’s boyfriend, was ordered to stay home by a judge for violating probation. Instead of supporting her boyfriend through a difficult time, she chose to party with her girls.
But what is even more appalling, as the Human Rights Foundation points out in an open letter that has gone viral, is the destination of the plane. The rapper flew to Angola to put on a concert for a dictator known for human right violations. “President” José Eduardo dos Santos rules the country with an iron fist and has been linked to countless crimes against his own people, including murder. He has unilaterally taken over the operations of the government and now controls the means of production to the country’s vast natural resources, which include diamonds. And since he controls the military, nobody really opposes him.
You probably haven’t heard about that second part; the part where Nicki Minaj receives a large sum of money through the dictator’s shell company in order to plat a concert in his family’s name. That part isn’t covered much in the mainstream popular media because it is a heavy subject. You could argue, like Human Rights Foundation founder Thor Halvorssen has, that she is complicit in the crimes of the dictator and by playing the concert, she affirming his terrible actions and increasing his power.
His father endured beatings and putrid conditions because he spoke up against the government. Then his mother was shot during a political protest in New York. Seeing the efforts put forth by his parents and what they endured for their beliefs inspired him to found the Human Rights Foundation.
So far, the foundation has focused on spreading democratic ideals across South America. But Thor Halvorssen has intelligently jumped on the opportunity to expose the Angolan dictator by writing an open letter to a world famous pop star. We can only hope he continues such inspired work.