Nicki Minaj has pulled out of a concert at Jeddah World Fest in Saudi Arabia, citing the country’s poor record on LGBTQ rights and women’s rights, and its limits on freedom of expression.
“After careful reflection I have decided to no longer move forward with my scheduled concert at Jeddah World Fest,” said Minaj to the AP. “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.”
The Human Rights Foundation called on Minaj to pull out in a statement last week: “The Human Rights Foundation (HRF) considers the Saudi regime to be one of the world’s worst human rights violators and has contacted Minaj, urging her to cancel her performance, refuse the regime’s money, and instead use her global influence to issue a statement demanding the release of the Saudi women activists who are currently in prison. Minaj, who took part in World Pride festivities in her hometown of New York City last month to celebrate LGBTQ rights, will be performing in a country where homosexuality is punishable by imprisonment or death. In April of this year, at least five men were executed by the Saudi regime for admitting to sexual relations with other men after enduring months of torture.”
Said HRF president and founder Thor Halvorssen: “What is Nicki Minaj thinking? How does she participate at World Pride one week and then hop on a jet to collect millions from a regime that beheaded five gay men this past April? There is no good reason for Minaj to do business with the Saudi dictatorship. If she proceeds with the show, she will be whitewashing the vast array of human rights crimes committed by MBS including torture, rape, extrajudicial assassination, and the slaughter of innocent civilians. HRF’s hope is that Minaj, Liam Payne, and the other headliners will prioritize morals over money, cancel their scheduled performances in Jeddah, and instead use their considerable fame to issue public statements of solidarity with the millions of women living under the oppressive rule of MBS. If Minaj does decide to perform in Jeddah, she should do so only under the condition that the Saudi regime release Loujain al-Hathloul, Samar Badawi, Nassima al-Saddah, and the rest of the Saudi women’s rights activists who have been targeted, harassed, imprisoned, tortured, and sexually assaulted by the government.”