Nicki Minaj has canceled a performance in Saudi Arabia in a show of support for women’s and gay rights in the ultra-conservative kingdom, the US rapper said Tuesday.
Minaj’s scheduled appearance in the western city of Jeddah next week as part of a cultural festival had triggered a social media backlash over human rights in the country.
“After careful reflection I have decided to no longer move forward with my scheduled concert at Jeddah World Fest,” Minaj said in a statement sent to AFP by her publicist.
“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, known for her profanity-laced lyrics and raunchy music videos, was due to perform as headline act of the festival — to be televised globally on MTV — as the kingdom loosens its decades-old restrictions on entertainment
Others scheduled to perform include British musician Liam Payne and American DJ Steve Aoki.
The New York-based Human Rights Foundation on Friday wrote Minaj an open letter urging her to withdraw from the festival, calling on her to “refuse the regime’s money” and use her global influence to demand the release of jailed Saudi women activists.
Amnesty International have described the Saudi human rights record as “abysmal,” adding that the nation is in the “grip of a sweeping crackdown against critics of the government.”
The festival in Saudi Arabia, which forbids alcohol and has a strict social code, comes as Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman pursues a sweeping liberalization drive that has led to new cinemas, concerts and sporting extravaganzas.
The reform is seen by some as an attempt to blunt public frustration over an economic downturn and high youth unemployment.
Saudi Arabia is also moving to boost domestic spending on entertainment and tourism, as the kingdom has reeled from low oil prices.
While Saudi Arabia is yet to offer tourist visas, the country has fast-tracked electronic permits for international visitors to attend such festivals to further boost revenue.
Nothing new for US in Trump’s Greenland ambitions
President Donald Trump's interest in buying Greenland has been met with disdain -- but it follows a longstanding US tradition of expanding its frontiers through land purchases from foreign countries.
The self-governed Danish territory has been in US sights at least twice before, while Washington has bought territory from Russia, Spain, France and Denmark since the turn of the 19th century.
- The Louisiana Purchase (1803) -
In the early 18th century, London and Paris were at loggerheads over control of North America, but French interest waned after it lost Quebec in the Battle of the Plains of Abraham in 1759.
Trump just delivered a weapons-grade crazy rant in front of reporters — here are the 7 worst moments
President Donald Trump on Wednesday spoke in front of reporters for a full 40 minutes in which he made numerous unhinged statements about American Jews, the Prime Minister of Denmark, and the economy.
Trump's lengthy rant featured too many strange and offensive moments to quickly summarize -- so we've written up a rundown of the seven insane moments.
1.) Trump doubles down on his smear that the majority of American Jews are "disloyal" to Israel. The president on Tuesday accused the majority of American Jews for being "disloyal" because of their support for the Democratic Party. When given an opportunity to walk those comments back, the president simply doubled down.
Eugene Robinson stunned by Trump’s rant: No ‘responsible’ world leader can trust a self-proclaimed ‘chosen one’
Washington Post columnist Eugene Robinson on Wednesday reacted to President Donald Trump's assertion that he is "the chosen one."
Trump made the remarks while taking questions on the White House lawn on Wednesday. The president suggested that he is "the chosen one" to take on China because he was elected by the American people.
Robinson suggested that Trump had undermined his own negotiating position.
"You get to the point where he looks at the sky and says I'm the chosen one," Robinson said following Trump's remarks. "You get to that point and you cannot -- I don't see how any responsible leader could say this is a guy I could count on."