Nicki Minaj has canceled a July 18 performance in Saudi Arabia following significant backlash, according to reports.
“After careful reflection I have decided to no longer move forward with my scheduled concert at Jeddah World Fest,” she said in a statement. “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.”
Nicki was scheduled to perform at Jeddah World Fest at Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah Sports Stadium. Days after the concert was announced, the Human Rights Foundation shared an open letter asking Nicki to withdraw from the performance, citing the “rights violations that have come under the kingdom’s ‘absolute monarchy,’” including its treatment of the LGBTQ+ community.
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. Other performers include former One Direction member Liam Payne and DJ-producer Steve Aoki.
Saudi organizers said the concert will be broadcast globally. The kingdom is also promising quick electronic visas for international visitors who want to attend.