Jeddah, Jul 11(BAN/CD): After being criticised on social media for her decision to headline the Jeddah World Music Festival on July 18, Nicki Minaj announced on Tuesday that she will no longer perform at the concert.
"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 "Starships" singer said in a statement, according to Reuters.
The New-York based Human Right Foundations had urged Minaj to pull out of the concert as it would be contradictory to her participation in the festivities in New York during the Gay Pride month in June, as homosexuality is banned in Saudi Arabia.
On Tuesday, HRF Chief Executive Thor Halvorssen welcomed Minaj's change of heart, praising her "inspiring and thoughtful decision to reject the Saudi regime’s transparent attempt at using her for a public relations stunt," Reuters reports.
Other artists who are set to perform for the Jeddah World Music Festival are, former One Direction British singer Liam Payne and American DJ Steve Aoki.
Western singers like Mariah Carey, Black Eyed Peas and DJ Tiesto are some of the artists who have performed in the kingdom since the past few months.
Around a dozen Saudi women activists have been detained for the past year on charges related to human rights work and contacts with foreign journalists and diplomats in a case that has drawn global attention after last year’s murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.
Some Saudis on Tuesday expressed dismay at Minaj's withdrawal. "You say you’ve educated yourself on the issues but clearly that’s not true. Good job on disappointing whatever fans you had here," tweeted Jeddah-based Jamil Baabdullah.
"I am your biggest fan and I was dying just waiting to see you in Jeddah but you disappointed me thank you," a user called Mohammed al7 posted on Twitter.