Nicki Minaj pulls out of Saudi Arabia gig over human rights

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Women were only recently allowed to drive and attend sporting events in stadiums, but gender segregation is still a thing in Saudi Arabia.

The US artist, who is known for provocative dances and explicit lyrics, was supposed to be sharing the stage with other top global performers such as DJ Steve Aoki and British artist Liam Payne who still seem scheduled to perform as per the festival's official website.

Nicki Minaj has canceled a performance in Saudi Arabia in a show of support for women's and gay rights in the ultra-conservative kingdom, the United States rapper said Tuesday.

Rights groups and feminist activists had criticised the American rapper over her planned performance in the Red Sea city of Jeddah, which was scheduled for later this month.

On Friday, the US-based Human Rights Foundation wrote an open letter to Minaj urging her to withdraw from the 18 July festival.

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"This is what leadership looks like", Halvorssen shares in a new press release. "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". That's a stark change from when Saudi morality police would raid establishments that played loud music.

"MTV is not and was never broadcasting or participating in the Jeddah World Festival", a spokeswoman said.

They highlighted the fact that the festival was funded by crown prince Mohammed Bin Salman. I could make one mistake & go to jail in a diff country where women have no rights.

Scrutiny of the country's human rights file intensified after the assassinate of journalist Jamal Khashoggi on the Saudi consulate in Istanbul final October.

They reminded Nicki Minaj in the letter that while she was a proud ally of the LGBTQ movement, and had even partaken in Pride celebrations, being LGBTQ in Saudi Arabia was a punishable offense.

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