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Nicki Minaj Pulls Out Of Saudi Music Concert In Support Of Women's Rights

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Hip-hop star Nicki Minaj announced that she is pulling out of a music show in Saudi Arabia this summer.

Minaj said in a statement that after careful reflection, she has decided to no longer move forward with her 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," she said.

The organizers had claimed it would be "One of the biggest music events ever staged in the middle-east."

Only people older than 16 have the privilege to enter the King Abdullah Sports Stadium in the Red Sea city.

The organizers of the Jeddah World Fest had said earlier that the popular rapper would be the headline act at the event, besides British musician Liam Payne and US DJ Steve Aoki.

"On July 18 2019, some of the world's hottest performers are jetting to Jeddah for an incredible music festival," read an announcement posted on Jeddah World Fest's official website.

Apparently aware of Minaj's absence, it displays the pictures of only the other two artists now.

The mega cultural event will lose some of its sheen with the rapper's decision to skip it pledging solidarity with women's and gay rights in the country.

It may look ironic that Saudi authorities have made it mandatory for women to wear full-length robe while attending the music show by a pop star, who is known for her hot lyrics and scantily clad performances with raunchy steps on the stage.

A statement on Twitter later reflected her concerns. "I could make one mistake & go to jail in a different country where women have no rights".

Minaj had taken part in World Pride festivities in New York City in June to celebrate LGBTQ rights.

Homosexuality is punishable by imprisonment or death in Saudi Arabia.

Human rights organizations had called on the 36-year-old Trinidad and Tobago-born rapper and other artists to boycott the July 18 event being held in the Islamic nation, where conservative laws put limits on women's appearance at public places.

Human Rights Foundation wrote to Minaj and Liam urging them to withdraw from the state-sponsored music festival funded by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

The New York-based organization also called on Minaj to use her global influence to issue a statement demanding the release of imprisoned Saudi women activists.

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