Rights groups are lobbying rapper Nicki Minaj to cancel her upcoming concert in Angola, a southern African country often criticized for human rights abuses and corruption.

Minaj is set to perform in the capital, Luanda, in a holiday season concert organized by Angolan mobile phone company Unitel, according to local media reports. “Guess who’s performing in Angola Dec 19th at the Unitel Christmas Festival,” Minaj tweeted.

President Jose Eduardo dos Santos has ruled the oil-rich country for 36 years. His daughter owns a large stake in Unitel, the country’s biggest mobile phone network, the Human Rights Foundation said.

“Nicki Minaj is a global artist,” foundation President Thor Halvorssen said. “There is no good reason for her to do business with the corrupt Angolan dictatorship and endorse the ruler’s family company.”

A representative for Minaj did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The group has written a letter to Minaj, urging her to cancel the performance and instead support a rapper who was jailed along with other youth activists.

Jeffrey Smith, Africa policy director for the Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights group, said, “Nicki Minaj is following in the footsteps of Mariah Carey, callously taking money from a dictator who’s been in power for nearly four decades.” Carey performed at an Angolan Red Cross gala in Angola in 2013, the Human Rights Foundation. Carey was reportedly paid $1 million for the performance, sponsored by Unitel.

Woods offers praise after accident

Actor James Woods says he’s happy to be alive after crashing on an icy highway in Colorado. The accident happened Monday in Glenwood Canyon. In a series of tweets, Woods said another person driving more than 75 mph spun out and that he hit a wall along the highway to avoid that driver. He said a guardrail kept his Jeep Grand Cherokee from dropping 100 feet to the Colorado River below. Woods praised the police, firefighters, tow truck drivers and everyone else who helped him. He also apologized for rambling and said he had a “little concussion.”

 

He’ll be back: The Grammy Awards will celebrate a lot of new music, but its ceremony will have a familiar face upfront in host LL Cool J. The Recording Academy said the rap artist and actor will be the master of ceremonies for the fifth consecutive year. The Grammys will be telecast Feb. 15.

 

still setting records: Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” is still scaring up sales and giving the King of Pop’s legacy a new milestone. The album has sold 30 million copies in the United States, making Jackson the first artist to attain 30-time multiplatinum status, the Recording Industry Association of America and Jackson’s estate said.

News Services