Indian rapper uses Nicki Minaj beat to call out Unilever

Sofia Ashraf claims that Unilever poisoned the soil and water of her town with mercury, causing deaths and deformity

Sofia Ashraf will not back down over the damage she alleges Unilever has done to her city, using Nicki Minaj’s Anaconda beat for a protest rap against the company. 

Local activists from Kodaikanal, a city in the state of Tamil Nadu, have been campaigning for years over the company’s abandonment of a thermometer factory. Mercury is a poisonous metal and India has no way of processing it. Ashraf’s song urges the CEO of Unilever, Paul Polman, to compensate the former workers of the factory at the Indian unit, who were exposed to toxic mercury, allegedly causing 45 deaths after mercury poisoning.

Unilever denies responsibility, dismissing scientific papers and the experiences of people from the area. In a statement on their website they say: “The conclusions of the CEM report is in contrast to the results and conclusions of several site assessment and risk assessment studies that have been done by independent experts and institutes over the years and we stand by the reports of the past.”

Ashraf has rapped about social issues before, including for the victims of the Bhopal Gas Tragedy of 1984, which some consider to be the world’s worst industrial disaster. 

Greenpeace and other environmental groups have previously accused Unilever of failing to clean up the waste, which harmed the forests of Kodikan. The rap video urges people who watch it to sign a petition, to hold Unilever accountable and get the company to compensate the workers affected by the mercury.