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Mariah Carey’s Dictator Blues

04:01 PM Friday 12/20/13 | |

Several years after she was criticized for performing at a private concert linked to the family of Libya dictator Moammar Gadhafi, Mariah Carey finds herself in the human-rights spotlight again, this time for singing for Angola’s tyrant-in-chief.

  • Mariah Carey

    National Christmas Tree lighting ceremony, President's Park, Washington, D.C.
    December 6, 2013

    (AP Photo / Charles Dharapak)


The Human Rights Foundation is taking Carey to task for her Dec. 15 concert for Jose Eduardo dos Santos, the 34-year dictator of Angola.  Saying Carey “can’t seem to get enough dictator cash,” the organization posted photos of Carey sitting with dos Santos and his family. The organization also posted a quote from the singer saying, “I am happy to be here in this room and I am honored to share this show with the President of Angola.”

“It is the sad spectacle of an international artist purchased by a ruthless police state to entertain and whitewash the father-daughter kleptocracy that has amassed billions in ill-gotten wealth while the majority of Angola lives on less than $2 a day,” Human Rights Foundation President Thor Halvorssen said in the article posted on the organization’s website.

Dos Santos’ family has reportedly used Angola’s oil and diamond wealth to completely control the country and its citizens and has carried out or ordered the killings of “politicians, journalists, and other activists who protest” his rule, according to the Human Rights Foundation.

Apparently Carey performed two concerts in Angola, according to HRF, which reminds us that Carey, along with Usher, Beyoncé, Jennifer Lopez, 50 Cent and Nelly Furtado have in the past been singled out for singing for despots. 

Earlier this year Lopez was criticized by human rights organizations for her performance at a private concert held in former Soviet bloc country Turkmenistan that was hosted by China National Petroleum Corp. and was attended by that country’s dictator-in-residence Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow.  At one point during the concert Lopez honored a last-minute request and sang “Happy Birthday” to the country’s dear leader.

But once the compost hit the rotating blades regarding her performance Lopez issued a statement saying “had there been knowledge of human rights issues of any kind,” the singer would not have attended. 

Beyoncé, Usher, 50 Cent and Furtado received bad press for performing for Gadhafi and each artist eventually pledged to donate their performance fees to human rights organizations while Carey promised to donate the royalties to a then-upcoming single to those who raise awareness for human rights.

ABC News has asked Carey for comment about her most recent performance for a dictator, but so far the singer hasn’t responded.


Artists Mentioned in this article