Nicki Minaj Pulls out of Saudi Arabia Concert

Nicki Minaj is pulling out of a concert in Saudi Arabia. The singer has cancelled an appearance at Jeddah World Fest citing her 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. 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 to the Associated Press on Tuesday.

In Saudi Arabia gender discrimination is still enforced in many restaurants, coffee shops, schools and universities. Although the Saudi prince recently allowed women to drive and watch sports events at stadiums, discrimination remains rife in Saudi Arabia.

Jeddah World Fest, in line with Saudi laws, is alcohol- and drug-free, open to people 16 and older and will take place at the King Abdullah Sports Stadium in the Red Sea city. The former One Direction member Liam Payne and DJ-producer Steve Aoki are still due to perform at the fest.

Last week, The Human Rights Foundation issued a statement and called for Minaj and other performers to quit from the show. This New York based organisation hailed Minaj’s decision not to perform in the concert.

Thor Halvorssen, president of the Human Rights Foundation said, “This is what leadership looks like. We are grateful to Nicki Minaj for her inspiring and thoughtful decision to reject the Saudi regime’s transparent attempt at using her for a public relations stunt”.

“The July 18 festival in Saudi Arabia still shows Liam Payne as a performer. We hope that he follows Nicki Minaj’s lead. Minaj’s moral stance differs from celebrity performers like J-Lo and Mariah Carey, who in the past have chosen to line their pockets with millions of dollars and stand with dictatorial governments as opposed to with oppressed communities and imprisoned human rights activists.”

> Dipto Paul

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