Nicki Minaj will not be performing in Saudi Arabia as part of the Jeddah World Festival.
Human Rights Foundation president Thor Halvorssen wrote a letter to the rapper on Friday, requesting she look into the middle eastern country’s lack of civil rights for women and members of the LGBTQ community before moving ahead with the July 18 show date.
“After careful reflection I have decided to no longer move forward with my scheduled concert at Jeddah World Fest,” Minaj said in a statement released on Tuesday. “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.”
Although Saudi Arabia is progressing under Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, it continues to be ultraconservative. Minaj, who is known for her provocative dance moves and lyrics, would be performing in front of female fans who are expected to wear modest full-length robes known as an abaya.
It wasn’t until 2017 that women were allowed to drive in Saudi Arabia, under orders given by bin Salman. It was at this time that they were also given access to government services such as education and healthcare without the need for consent from a guardian.
Members of the LGBTQ community have zero rights in Saudi Arabia and further, are not recognized by the government.
Other artists who have recently performed in Saudi Arabia — sometimes despite objections — include Mariah Carey, Enrique Iglesias, the Black Eyed Peas, and David Guetta. DJ Steve Aoki and One Direction’s Liam Payne are still scheduled to perform at Jeddah World Festival, an alcohol- and drug-free event.