“After careful reflection I have decided to no longer move forward with my scheduled concert at Jeddah World Fest,” Minaj said in a statement. “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.”
In a statement last week, the Human Rights Foundation asked for Minaj and other performers to pull out of their shows. The “Megatron” rapper was originally supposed to headline the festival on July 18.
Though some rules have been loosened, which now allow women to drive and attend events in sports stadiums, gender segregation between single men and women is still practiced and enforced in many places in Saudi Arabia.
Jeddah World Fest is located at the King Abdullah Sports Stadium in Saudi Arabia’s Red Sea City and, in line with Saudi laws, is alcohol and drug free. Other performers still scheduled to appear include DJ Steve Aoki and ex-One Direction member Liam Payne.
Mariah Carey, Enrique Iglesias and the Black Eyed Peas are among other musicians who have performed in the country within the past several months.