Indian Rapper Turns Nicki Minaj Hit Into a Powerful Corporate Slam
An Indian thermometer factory was shuttered in 2001 after environmental abuses led to deadly mercury contamination—and more than a decade later workers are still in a heated fight for compensation for damages to Kodaikanal’s countryside and people.
Chennai-born Sofia Ashraf is rapping the complaints of former workers and locals to the tune of Nicki Minaj’s “Anaconda,” expressing the aftermath of a Unilever operation that allegedly exposed about 600 workers to toxic mercury and has resulted in 45 premature deaths.
“Your cleanup was a sham, there’s poison in the air,” Ashraf yells in the video, provided by Jhatkaa, a NGO committed to building grassroots citizen power across India.
Unilever denies the impacts, saying "there were no adverse effects on the health of the employees or the environment” in a statement on its site.
A local NGO says high levels of toxic mercury are still found in the vegetation and dirt around the closed thermometer factory, according to a recent study by Community Environmental Monitoring that was published last month by The Hindu.
Last month, The Indian Express reports, ex-workers held a protest at the company’s headquarters in Andheri, Mumbai, when the annual general meeting with shareholders was held.
"Dear shareholders, we made you rich. Your company poisoned us," placards read at the protest..