Nicki Minaj pulls out of Saudi Arabia gig after backlash
Nicki Minaj has pulled out of her concert in Saudi Arabia later this month.
The 36-year-old rapper has axed her gig at the Jeddah World Fest. on July 18 after she was encouraged by protestors - including the Human Rights Foundation and the LGBTQ community - to cancel it in protest of the country's restrictive laws.
Nicki said in a statement: "After careful reflection I have decided to no longer move forward with my scheduled concert at Jeddah World Fest. 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 Jeddah World Fest, which will take place at the King Abdullah Sports Stadium in the Red Sea city and see the likes of Liam Payne and Steve Aoki perform, is an alcohol and drug-free music event and is open to people aged 16 and older.
The Human Rights Foundation issued a statement last week begging the 'Bang Bang' hitmaker to withdraw from the festival as they couldn't understand why she would celebrate Gay Pride one week and then support Saudi Arabia another.
CEO Thor Halvorssen said: "What is Minaj thinking? How does she participate at World Pride one week and then hop on a jet to collect millions from a regime that beheaded five gay men this past April?
"[She will be performing] while the women in the audience will be wearing a full Abaya and separated from the men. Not one woman present is allowed to be there without a male guardian or without permission from a male in her household."
Saudi Arabia still enforces gender segregation between single men and women in restaurants, coffee shops, public schools and universities.
But some of the laws have now relaxed with women now allowed to drive.