Nicki Minaj has pulled out of a planned July concert in Saudi Arabia, The Guardian reports, in an effort to show support for human rights.
“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,” she said in a statement to the Associated Press.
In Saudi Arabia, women face strict guardianship laws that prevent them from making many decisions without the permission of a male relative. A year ago in June, the kingdom granted women the right to drive, marking a historic move in the repressive country, but women still need permission from a male guardian to marry, go to school, or get a passport.
A number of Saudi activists who have fought for human rights—including the right for women to drive—are behind bars for their activism, reportedly enduring torture. Among them, 29-year-old Loujain al-Hathloul. Her sister Lina Al-Hathloul spoke out on her behalf at the Women in the World Summit this past spring in New York City.
Minaj was scheduled to hold a concert on July 18. Human rights activists called on her and other performers to pull out of the show, The Guardian reports. Over the past few months, Saudi Arabia has hosted entertainers including Carey, Enrique Iglesias, the Black Eyed Peas, Sean Paul, David Guetta, and Tiesto.
Read the full story at The Guardian.