The news: Mariah Carey is stuffing her stocking with cash this year — with over $1 million in cash from one of Africa's most vicious dictators.
On Dec. 15, Carey sang for two hours at a benefit for the Angolan Red Cross in Luanda, Angola's capital, where her appearance as part of the second annual Baile Vermelho raised over $65,000 in funds, as well as a stadium gig at Luanda's Coquieros Stadium. Local entertainment site Platina Line captured some photos of the event, including this one where she posed with Isabel Dos Santos, president of the Angola Red Cross, and her father, José Eduardo dos Santos:
The catch? The elder Dos Santos is an uncaring autocrat who has ruled Angola for more than 34 years, accused of ordering the deaths of media figures who oppose his presidency. And Isabel Dos Santos, nicknamed "the princess," has amassed riches of over $1 billion while the majority of Angolans live on less than $2 a day.
This is not the first dictator Carey has played for. In 2011, she apologized after playing for blood-soaked dictator Muammar Gaddafi, who was shortly after overthrown in a brutal rebellion. At the time, Carey said:
"I was naive and unaware of who I was booked to perform for. 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. Ultimately, we as artists are to be held accountable."
She obviously hasn't learned her lesson. While posing with Dos Santos, she allegedly said "I am happy to be here in this room, and I am honored to share this show with the president of Angola."
Yikes. The optics certainly aren't good.
"Mariah Carey can’t seem to get enough dictator cash, reportedly more than $1 million this time," said Human Rights Foundation president Thor Halvorssen. "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. 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."
Then this apparently happened:
@run_mac_run oh if you only knew... Mariah's manager called me an hour ago. It was, um, *lively* to say the least and, he called me a racist— Thor Halvorssen (@ThorHalvorssen) December 20, 2013
In other celebrities-endorsing-brutal-dictators news, Dennis Rodman will be moving to North Korea for a week to coach basketball for his best friend, Kim Jong-un.