US-based rapper Nicki Minaj has pulled out of the Jeddah World Fest in Saudi Arabia next week to stand in solidarity with human rights activists fighting for women’s rights, LGBTQ community and freedom of speech in the country. The fest, slated to happen on July 18, had called Nicki Minaj among others to headline the event. But after an NY-based advocacy group, Human Rights Foundation, sent the Grammy nominee a five-page letter detailing the country’s continued violations, the rapper pulled the plug on it.

“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.”

While Minaj has refused to perform in the Middle-eastern country, British musician Liam Payne and American DJ Steve Aoki are still going to perform at the event despite the backlash.

The letter sent by the foundation to Minaj requested her that “in light of your status as a global personality,” she should refuse performing at the concert “as a symbol of solidarity with the on-going suffering of the Saudi people,” Washington Post reported.

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“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 is one of the most provocative American rapper who rarely performs in anything but a leotard. Her rap songs also have titillating lyrics such as “Shots, shots, shots, I’m drinkin’/ It’s better when I’m drinkin’/ I tune up when I’m drinkin’” from her latest single Megatron. The event that’s going to be organised in Saudi Arabia prohibits all of what signifies Minaj as it will not allow alcohol and drugs because of the country’s strict laws. Secondly, the event’s guideline also says that it is mandatory for women to dress modestly to attend the concert to maintain the Sharia Law. The organisers are set to broadcast the festival internationally, and to make visas accessible for foreigners to attend the Jeddah World Fest, NPR reported.

In the recent past, other global musicians like Mariah Carey, Enrique Iglesias, the Black Eyed Peas and Sean Paul have also performed in the country that sits on the red sea. Carey responded to the backlash that happened when she was invited and she had responded to it by saying, “accepted the opportunity as a positive step towards the dissolution of gender segregation,” according to the Grammy winner’s rep.

Picture credit- The Golden Grenade

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