Nicki Minaj: Hip-hop star criticised over plans for Angola Christmas concert

Rights groups have called on US hip-hop star Nicki Minaj to cancel an upcoming concert in Angola, saying her performance would endorse the authoritarian rule of long-time President Jose Eduardo dos Santos.

Minaj is due on stage on Saturday in the Angolan capital, Luanda, for a Christmas concert hosted by Unitel, a communications firm that is part owned by dos Santos's family.

Fellow US singer Mariah Carey was criticised in 2013 for performing in front of dos Santos, who has governed the southern African nation for 36 years.

"Nicki Minaj is following in the footsteps of Mariah Carey, callously taking money from a dictator ... who has effectively and ruthlessly choked free expression," said Jeffery Smith of the Robert F Kennedy Human Rights centre.

"This sustained crackdown on basic human rights in Angola has swept up activists, opposition members, journalists and even musicians."

dos Santos, 73, has been accused of overseeing corruption, misrule and intimidation in a country that suffers endemic poverty despite being Africa's second-largest oil producer.

"Nicki Minaj is a global artist. There is no good reason for her to do business with the corrupt Angolan dictatorship and endorse the ruler's family company," said Human Rights Foundation president Thor Halvorssen.

Angola marked 40 years of independence from Portugal last month, with dos Santos vowing to bring progress to the country, but critics accuse him of ruling through fear and repression.

Minaj has appeared in a Unitel clip on Facebook, promoting her Angola show.