The Human Rights Foundation has asked rapper Nicki Minaj to cancel her upcoming scheduled appearance in Angola, the Hollywood Reporter reported Tuesday. The letter cited the arrest of Angolan hip-hop artist Luaty Beirao as one of the reasons Minaj should cancel her appearance. Beirao was apprehended in June after attending a meeting to discuss democracy and non-violence, and a trial is underway against him and 16 others who had attended the meeting.
"As a strong-willed independent artist shouldn't you be advocating for the release of the imprisoned rapper Luaty Beirao rather than entertaining the dictator and his thieving family?" Thor Halvorssen, head of the Humans Rights Foundation wrote in his letter, obtained by The Hollywood Reporter.
— Hollywood Reporter (@THR) December 15, 2015
Minaj is scheduled to perform Saturday at a Christmas festival in Angola’s capital, Luanda. Angola, which is ruled by President Jose Eduardo dos Santos, has been faulted in the past for violating basic rights to those who speak out against government oppression and intimidation. The letter reportedly referenced documented human rights crimes committed by the dos Santos family, and accused dos Santos’ daughter as being a main beneficiary in the country’s “blood diamond” trade.
"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," Halvorssen wrote, Hollywood Reporter reported. "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."
Halvorssen founded the Human Rights Foundation in 2005 and is a human rights advocate and film producer. He has criticized many celebrities including Gloria Steinem, Abigail Disney, Hilary Swank and Jennifer Lopez over human rights issues and their relationships with people considered as dictators. Halvorssen is well-known for a stint in which when he used balloons to transport thousands of copies of the controversial movie “The Interview” into North Korea to humiliate Kim Jong Un.