Nicki Minaj has canceled her upcoming headlining Saudi Arabia performance. After receiving much backlash from fans and activists, Minaj will no longer perform. According to Pitchfork, the rapper released a statement regarding the cancellation, stating “After careful reflection, I have decided to no longer move forward with my scheduled concert at Jeddah World Fest.” She continued to say “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 performance was scheduled for July 18 at Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah Sports Stadium.
Other acts that are still scheduled to perform include former One-Direction member Liam Payne and DJ Steve Aoki. Shortly after the concert was announced, Thor Halvorssen, CEO of the Human Rights Foundation encouraged Minaj not to move forward with the performance in an open letter provided by The Hollywood Reporter. He wrote “Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is the individual who authorized and is financing your seven-figure performance at the event. I am writing to urgently inform you of the human rights crises in Saudi Arabia,”
Saudi Arabia is known for its lack of treatment towards women and the LGBTQ community, which Halvorssen also mentioned in the letter. “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.”