Nicki Minaj, Trinidad-born rapper, has cancelled her Saudi Arabia concert — a move she said represents her way of showing solidarity for women’s rights, gay rights and freedom of expression.
The 36-year-old hip-hop star announced her withdrawal a week after the Human Rights Foundation (HRF) urged her and other performers — scheduled to grace a cultural festival in Jeddah — to pull out.
“After careful reflection, I have decided to no longer move forward with my scheduled concert at Jeddah World Fest,” she wrote in a press statement made available to the media.
“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 talented rapper also took to her social media page to reveal some of her reasons for pulling out.
She narrated how she was nearly sent to prison during a show in Jamaica because she forgot to censor some swear words in her songs.
“I performed in Jamaica before & when i got off the stage I was surrounded by police with guns drawn. They were ready 2 take me to jail b/c they said I forgot to bleep a couple curses…. I could make one mistake & go to jail in a diff country where women have no rights,” Minaj wrote.
Minaj was initially booked to headline the concert on July 18, but backed out to support the human rights struggle in the middle east country, where gender segregation is still enforced in many restaurants and institutions.
Following the cancellation, the HRF commended Minaj for her “inspiring and thoughtful decision” while charging other entertainers still subscribed to the show to follow her lead.
“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,” said Thor Halvorssen, president of the HR.
“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.”
Others scheduled to perform include Liam Payne, British musician, and Steve Aoki, American DJ.