Nicki Minaj Pulls Out Of Festival In Saudi Arabia

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Nicki Minaj has pulled out of an upcoming music festival in Saudi Arabia as a show of support for the rights of women and LGBTQ people.

“After careful reflection I have decided to no longer move forward with my scheduled concert at Jeddah World Fest,” the rap star said Tuesday, 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.”

When Minaj was announced as a headliner of the event, which takes place July 18 and also features Liam Payne and Steke Aoki, she came under fire from many fans on social media.

The Human Rights Foundation (HRF) described Saudi Arabia is one of the world’s worst human rights violators and urged Minaj to cancel.

“What is Nicki Minaj thinking? How does she participate at World Pride one week and then hop on a jet to collect millions from a regime that beheaded five gay men this past April?,” asked HRF president and founder Thor Halvorssen. “There is no good reason for Minaj to do business with the Saudi dictatorship. If she proceeds with the show, she will be whitewashing the vast array of human rights crimes committed by MBS including torture, rape, extrajudicial assassination, and the slaughter of innocent civilians.”

On Tuesday, the HRF praised Minaj for showing “what leadership looks like” and said it hopes Payne will follow her lead.