Nicki Minaj is being criticized by human rights activists for her decision to perform this month at a music festival in Saudi Arabia, a repressive kingdom that treats women and minorities as second-class citizens.
The 36-year-old has accepted an invitation to bring her provocative lyrics and dance to a stage at the Jeddah World Fest. The alcohol-free event for concertgoers 16 and older is set to take place at the King Abdullah Sports Stadium in Red Sea city, according to the Human Rights Foundation, which sent a letter to Minaj asking for her to withdraw. HRF CEO Thor Halvorssen 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.”
He went on to note the multiple recent instances of citizens being harassed, jailed or put to death due to being critical of the government, attending minority religious events or simply being who they are, citing the country’s stance on LGBTQ people: “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.” The “Anaconda” lyricist has yet to comment.