By Asia Media Staff — Rapper Nicki Minaj is a humanitarian. Did you know that? She didn’t, until recently.
After “careful reflection,” Minaj told the Associated Press, she has pulled out of her much anticipated headline appearance at the Jeddah World Fest in Saudi Arabia July 18. “While I want nothing more than to bring my show to fans in Saudi Arabia,” she told the Associated Press, “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.”
It took her a while to fully reflect. Last week, the Human Rights Foundation prevailed upon her to cancel the show. She hesitated. Others have in fact turned a deaf ear to that same call and chosen instead to follow the money—J-Lo, Mariah Carey, the Black Eyed Peas.
As per Saudi law, the event at the King Abdullah Sports Stadium will be open to people sixteen and older, and will be alcohol and drug-free. Could a concerned parent ask for more?
But for visiting “artists” there are other concerns, like: gender segregation; reports of women’s rights activists being tortured and imprisoned; and of course, the brutal murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi by Saudi agents, who just happen to be close to the crown prince, inside the Turkish Embassy on Saudi soil.
Yes, the Saudi government has loosened up of late. It lifted the ban on women driving and the mandate that they wear headscarves. For Minaj, that wasn’t enough.
Just as well. Nicki Minaj’s Kardashian/Beyonce/Playboy Bunny style of outfit is far from conventionally accepted Saudi dress. Maybe she couldn’t feel comfortable baring her skin, or her soul, to women still fighting, quite literally, to be seen —for who they are and what they can do, besides what they wear. Or don’t.