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Angola, Nicki Minaj, and Human Rights


While we all know the name Nicki Minaj – whether from a friend who listens to her music or because we listen ourselves – the name Thor Halvorssen is not as well known. Many equate the name Thor with the Marvel comics or the god of thunder from Norse mythology. However, Thor Halvorssen is the CEO and found of the Human Rights Foundation. Graduating magna cum laude from the University of Pennsylvania, he has an undergraduate degree in political science and a graduate degree in history. Prior to starting the Human Rights Foundation in 2005, he was the CEO of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education from 1999 to 2004.

However, his family history plays a bigger part in why he has founded the Human Rights Foundation than his education. His mother was a child psychologist. While at a peaceful public gathering, she was gunned down and wounded by the Venezuelan government security. His father – an ambassador – was imprisoned on false charges in Venezuela. While in prison, he was beaten and tortured in a savage manner. Due to these two incidents, and one in 2014 with his first cousin, he knows very well the reasons for keeping human rights in place.

As for why Nicki Minaj was mentioned in the same sentence as Thor Halvorssen, she was to give a Christmas festival on December 19th, 2015 in Angola. This would not be a problem if the festival were not sponsored by Unitel. The communication company is run and overseen by Jose Eduardo dos Santos, the president of Angola. The Human Rights Foundation has classified him as a dictator, and he is known to harass, imprison, and even kill those who protest his rule.

Minaj received a letter from the Human Rights Foundation asking her to cancel her performance in Angola. The letter warned that any money she was going to make from the festival was coming from government corruption and violation of human rights. They also warned of his tendency to deal maliciously with those who speak out against him as well as the exploitation of workers, diamond, and oil wealth to make their fortune.

Despite this, she went on with the show. Her reputation for inspiring creativity and other things will most likely take a dive for this, but she was unafraid to continue on. The Human Rights Foundation has made no further comment on the controversy.

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