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Nicki Minaj Pulls Out Of Saudi Arabia Festival, Gives Reason

11 July 2019

Less than a month since Jamaicans lauded Nicki Minaj for sampling a classic dancehall beat, the American rapper has come under fire for comparing an experience in Jamaica to the plight of women in culturally restricted Saudi Arabia. Organizers have shared some of the names who will be performing at the festival, including Liam Payne and Steve Aoki.

"After careful reflection, I have chose to no longer move forward with my scheduled concert at Jeddah World Fest", she wrote in a press statement made available to the media. The Human Rights Foundation issued a statement last week calling for Minaj and other performers to pull out of the show.

Nicki Minaj is scheduled to perform on July 18th of this year. "I believe it is important for me to make clear my support for the rights of women, the LGBTQ community and freedom of expression". Robert Quirke, chairman of ROQU Media International, the event organizer, explained that Jeddah World Fest is set to become the first global music festival of this scale in Saudi Arabia and has been put together to amaze audiences in Jeddah like never before.

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The news sparked controversy and massive reactions in Saudi Arabia.

Nicki Minaj attends the Met Gala at the Metropolitan Museum of Art on May 6, 2019, in New York City.

Nicki then posted another tweet attempting to clarify her comments.The rapstress, who has claimed to have "love" for Jamaica, previously resided in Trinidad and Tobago prior to her move to NY, and was born to Trinidadian parents.

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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". "We hope that he follows Nicki Minaj's lead".

In March, the kingdom drew further criticism when it put 10 women's rights activists on trial.

This comes at a time the ultraconservative Kingdom has been trying to loosen restrictions on entertainment under the claimed social reforms by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

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Nicki Minaj Pulls Out Of Saudi Arabia Festival, Gives Reason