Culture&Arts

Nicki Minaj withdraws attendance from Jeddah Music Festival

Nicki Minaj withdraws attendance from Jeddah Music Festival

Nicki Minaj has reached out to fans in Saudi Arabia after announcing her decision to pull out of headlining the Jeddah World Fest on Tuesday (09Jul19).

News of Minaj's decision comes a few days after The Human Rights Foundation issued a statement asking her and other performers to opt out of the music festival. "I believe it is important for me to make clear my support for the rights of women, the LGBTQ community and freedom of expression".

Homosexuality is banned in Saudi Arabia. Organizers have shared some of the names who will be performing at the festival, including Liam Payne and Steve Aoki. The human rights organization is fighting a regime in this country that insists on the separation of the sexes and the oppression of women's rights.

Meanwhile, the Saudi media had another take on the story.

In its statement, HRF president Thor Halvorssen praises Minaj for pulling out of the festival, while calling out Payne. Oh, and Mariah Carey will seemingly perform anywhere, no matter how dire the humanitarian crisis.

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However others were irritated by Minaj's revealing stage outfits.

The spectacle would have been unthinkable until recently in the ultra-conservative kingdom where religious police used to enforce strict gender segregation and scolded women for not covering their hair.

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. "You say you've educated yourself on the issues but clearly that's not true".

The star received mixed responses; one fan insisted "yes lol the media fabricated everything", while another wrote, "not without a guardian... sad".

"It would break me if even one of my fans were arrested, or BEATEN for expressing themselves", Minaj had tweeted.