Tuesday 20 August 2019

Nicki Minaj pulls out of Jeddah World Fest concert in Saudi Arabia

She cited support for women, the LGBT community and freedom of expression.

Singer Nicki Minaj performing at the European MTV Awards in Bilbao, Spain (Vianney Le Caer/AP)
Singer Nicki Minaj performing at the European MTV Awards in Bilbao, Spain (Vianney Le Caer/AP)

By Associated Press Reporter

Nicki Minaj has pulled out of a concert in Saudi Arabia because she says she wants to show support for women’s rights, gay rights and freedom of expression.

“After careful reflection I have decided to no longer move forward with my scheduled concert at Jeddah World Fest.

I believe it is important for me to make clear my support for the rights of women, the LGBTQ community and freedom of expression Nicki Minaj

“While I want nothing more than to bring my show to fans in Saudi Arabia, after better educating myself on the issues, I believe it is important for me to make clear my support for the rights of women, the LGBTQ community and freedom of expression,” Minaj said in a statement.

Minaj was originally scheduled to headline the concert on July 18.

The Human Rights Foundation issued a statement last week, calling for Minaj and other performers to pull out of the show.

In Saudi Arabia, gender segregation between single men and women is still enforced in many restaurants, coffee shops, public schools and universities, but other rules have loosened with women now allowed to drive and attend events in sports stadiums.

Jeddah World Fest, which in line with Saudi laws, is alcohol and drug-free, is open to people 16 and older and will take place at the King Abdullah Sports Stadium in the Red Sea city.

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Liam Payne is booked to perform (Ian West/PA)

Other performers include former One Direction member Liam Payne and DJ-producer Steve Aoki.

Saudi organisers said the concert will be broadcast globally.

The kingdom is also promising quick electronic visas for international visitors who want to attend.

Over the past several months, the kingdom has seen performances by Mariah Carey, Enrique Iglesias, the Black Eyed Peas, Sean Paul, David Guetta and Tiesto.

That is a stark change from when Saudi morality police would raid establishments that played loud music.

PA Media

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