At a recent holiday concern in Luanda, rapper Nicki Minaj changed up some of her lyrics to reflect a more positive message for human rights. The single “Only” became “Independent Women Only” as an homage to Angolan women who almost missed the show due to some controversy that occurred prior to the show. A New York city charity requested that the show be cancelled because of human rights issues and controversy that has been taking place for many years because of the Angolan President: Jose dos Santos. The show must go on according to Minaj and it was an impressive crowd.
Minaj was determined to uphold her positive, feminist outlook and continue on with her tour. In addition to her show, Minaj met with some prominent women in the area including the President’s daughter, Isabel dos Santos. While Angola’s government has been focused around oppression of women, jailing supporters and using intimidation tactics, Minaj wasn’t swayed while in the country.
Some people did not agree with Minaj’s decision to continue the show and felt it was a slap in the face for human right’s supporters. The original request to cancel the show came from Thor Halvorssen, who is the founder of the Human Rights Foundation. Halvorssen wanted the show cancelled so there would be no support for the dictator as well as his family as they are believed to take away educational resources from young Angolans and prevent growth. Nicki Minaj was quickly labeled as not caring about human rights or Angolan lives.
Thor Halvorssen and the Human Rights Foundation speaks openly about Jose dos Santos, describing him as a tyrant who has single handedly taken control of the country’s legal system, military, etc. It is suspected elections have been fixed and unethical practices have taken place while exploiting the people living in the area. In the end, Minaj and her staff made the decision to continue on with the show. It was well received by the fans who attended but many people are offended by her decision.