Mariah Carey Slammed by Human Rights Group Over Concert in Angola, Singer Reportedly Paid $1 Million

"She goes from private performances to public displays of support and credibility for one of Africa's chief human rights violators and most corrupt tyrants," HRF president said

By Alyssa Toomey Dec 20, 2013 12:02 AMTags
Mariah Carey, BET AwardsJason Merritt/Getty Images for BET

Mariah Carey has come under fire following a recent concert in Angola.

The Human Rights Foundation is heavily criticizing the "All I Want for Christmas" singer after she performed for the nation's "corrupt" president José Eduardo dos Santos on Sunday, Dec. 15, four years after the pop star apologized for her 2009 performance for Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi.

Carey sang a two-hour set at Luanda's Coqueiros Stadium at a gala for the Angolan Red Cross, which was sponsored by Unitel, a mobile company owned by dos Santos' daughter Isabel, who also serves as president of the Angolan Red Cross.

Dos Santos has served as president of Angola since 1979 and has been accused of a number of human rights abuse, allegedly ordering the death of many activists, journalists and politicists who protest his rule.

"Mariah Carey can't seem to get enough dictator cash, reportedly more than $1 million this time," Human Rights Foundation president Thor Halvorssen said in a statement. "Just five years ago she performed for the family of Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi. Now, she goes from private performances to public displays of support and credibility for one of Africa's chief human rights violators and most corrupt tyrants."

Carey, who has yet to comment on the media backlash, snapped an innocent selfie just one day prior to her performance in Angola, captioning the photo, "Backstage in Nigeria."

"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," Halvorssen continued.


According to the HRF, the Angolan Red Cross gala raised $65,000. The 43-year-old songstress posed with the president, his wife and daughter at the event, where she said she was "honored to share this show with the President of Angola."

Carey's rep did not respond when asked for comment on the controversial concert.

This is not the first time Carey has performed for a dictator. She apologized in 2011 after she was hired by the Gadhafis to sing at a New Year's Eve bash back in 2009.

"I was naive and unaware of who I was booked to perform for," she said at the time. "I feel horrible and embarrassed to have participated in this mess. Ultimately we as artists are to be held accountable. Going forward, this is a lesson for all artists to learn from. We need to be more aware and take more responsibility regardless of who books our shows."

Carey isn't the only artist to receive backlash following an appearance at an event with a controversial ruler. Jennifer Lopez apologized after she performed for Turkmenistan President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow over the summer.