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Nicki Minaj pulls out of Saudi Arabia concert to support LGBT rights

Lily Wakefield July 9, 2019
Nicki Minaj pulls out of Saudi Arabia concert

Nicki Minaj pulled out of a concert in Saudi Arabia to show support for women and LGBT+ people. (Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)

Nicki Minaj has announced that she has pulled out of a concert in Saudi Arabia to show support for women and LGBT+ people in the country.

The singer was due to headline the alcohol-free, state-sponsored music festival Jeddah World Fest on July 18.

Minaj told AP News: “After careful reflection I have decided to no longer move forward with my scheduled concert at Jeddah World Fest.

“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.”

Homosexuality is illegal and punishable by death in Saudi Arabia and in April this year, five men were executed there after admitting they had had sex with other men.

Nicki Minaj pulls out of Saudi Arabia concert
Nicki Minaj was due to headline Jeddah World Fest on July 18. (Bryan Steffy/Getty Images for Drai’s Beachclub-Nightclub)

The Human Rights Foundation called for Nicki Minaj to cancel the show

Before her announcement, the Human Rights Foundation wrote an open letter to Minaj calling for her to cancel the show.

It said: “You recently celebrated Pride Week to stand in solidarity with the LGBTQ community.

“Yet, if you move forward with this performance, you will be condoning, and serving the public relations needs, of a government that executes homosexuals for the “crime” of being who they are.

“Just three months ago five gay men were beheaded after they confessed to crimes under torture.

“If you move forward with this performance for a festival sponsored by the Crown Prince, you will be in league with the people who respond to freedom of expression and thought with murder.”

It is not the first time that Minaj has been called out for her activities in countries with anti-LGBT+ laws.

In 2018, Queer Eye’s Jonathan Van Ness criticised Minaj for appearing on the cover of Russian Harper’s Bazaar.

He wrote on Twitter: “Russia has anti LGBTQIA propaganda laws, Chechnya supported by Russia tortures it’s LGBTQIA citizens, & w your LGBTQ+ fans you can’t even speak to that in this interview bc it’s illegal in Russia, what’s good @NICKIMINAJ , this should’ve been a hard pass.”

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