WASHINGTON — Legendary pop diva Mariah Carey performed for Angola’s autocratic ruler José Eduardo dos Santos earlier this week, marking the latest appearance by an American celebrity for a dictator this year.
Carey reportedly performed for two hours on Sunday in Luanda, the capital of Angola, in a performance sponsored by the phone company owned by dos Santos’ daughter, who also is president of the Angolan Red Cross.
Dos Santos, who has been the president of Angola since 1979, has been accused of many human rights abuses and restrictions on the media. “The media face a broad range of restrictions that hamper the right to free expression and encourage self-censorship,” Human Rights Watch says. “The state media and a number of private media owned by senior officials are ruling party mouthpieces in which censorship and self-censorship are common.”
In a release about the performance, Human Rights Foundation President Thor Halvorssen said that Carey received a reported $1 million for the show.
This is not the first time Carey has performed for a dictator: She apologized in 2011 for performing for Moammar Gadhafi in 2009.
A number of U.S. celebrities have performed for autocratic human rights abusers this year, including Kanye West, who performed for Kazakhstan’s president’s family, and Jennifer Lopez, who gave a show at the birthday of Turkmenistan’s dictator.
A spokesperson for Carey didn’t return a request for comment.