Nicki Minaj pulls out of Saudi Arabia festival after backlash

    She was originally scheduled to headline the Jeddah World Fest on July 18.

    Nicki Minaj attends the 2018 MET Gala
    Image: Sky Cinema / Shutterstock.com

    Nicki Minaj has canceled her appearance at the Jeddah World Fest in Saudi Arabia after facing backlash from fans and human rights groups.

    Last Wednesday, the rapper was confirmed as the July 18 festival headliner, with acts like One Direction alum Liam Payne and DJ Steve Aoki also set to perform. But yesterday, Minaj announced that she had reconsidered her appearance at the event.

    “After careful reflection I have decided to no longer move forward with my scheduled concert at Jeddah World Fest,” she said in a statement to the Associated Press. “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.”

    On Monday, the Grammy nominee was called out by the Human Rights Foundation, which sent a public five-page letter detailing the conservative kingdom’s gender inequality and lack of personal freedoms, among other issues. The non-profit has since thanked the rapper for pulling out of the event. “Millions of people around the world are inspired by your devotion to human rights and human dignity. We at HRF salute you and are grateful for your leadership,” the group tweeted.

    Minaj recently dropped “Megatron,” a single from the follow-up to her 2018 album, Queen.