Today's letter from the Editor
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Page 3 Profile: Mariah Carey, pop singer
All I want for Christmas is…
A $1m fee to play a concert for a “father-daughter kleptocracy”.
That’s not how her song goes...?
No. But as Mariah Carey’s well-known Christmas single creeps back up the charts – 19 years after it was first released – the Human Rights Foundation (HRF) has slammed her for accepting “dictator cash”.
Is that like her version of chocolate coins in stockings?
Something like that. Last Sunday, Carey, 44, headlined a concert for Angolan Red Cross (ARC), helping to raise $65,000 in return for her reported bumper performance fee.
Christmas charity work?
The problem is that the ARC, like the gala concert’s sponsor – mobile phone service provider Unitel – is owned by Isabel dos Santos, the billionaire daughter of José Eduardo dos Santos, president and dictator of the country since 1979. The HRF believes that during his time in power he has ordered the deaths of many politicians, journalists, and campaigners. Thor Halvorssen, HRF’s president, said on Thursday: “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 while the majority of Angola lives on less than $2 a day.”
Maybe it was a mistake?
Probably not, as she’s done it before. Though in 2008, after being found to have performed for the family of Libyan dictator Colonel Gadafi, she claimed ignorance. “I was naive and unaware of who I was booked to perform for,” she said. “I feel horrible and embarrassed to have participated in this mess.”
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