Less than a week after it was announced that she would be performing at a music festival in Saudi Arabia, Nicki Minaj has had a change of heart. Minaj told the Associated Press that she was pulling out of the event, which is scheduled for July 18.
"After careful reflection, I have decided to no longer move forward with my scheduled concert at Jeddah World Fest," she told the AP.
Minaj continued, "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 Human Rights Foundation, in a letter from its president, Thor Halvorssen, had recently urged Minaj to reconsider her decision.
"You recently celebrated Pride Week to stand in solidarity with the LGBTQ community," the letter read. "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."
The letter concluded by saying, "Considering the information above, HRF believes that your participation in a performance sponsored by a murderous, repressive regime involved in gross human rights violations — especially of women and sexual minorities — would be highly unfortunate. Furthermore, it would be disastrous for a public figure of your standing who has articulated a commitment to education, women’s rights, and social justice."
The concert is scheduled to take place at the King Abdullah Sports Stadium in the Red Sea city. In line with Saudi laws, it will be alcohol and drug-free.
Liam Payne and Steve Aoki are also slated to perform.