American rapper Nicki Minaj will be headlining at the Jeddah World Fest on July 18 and not everyone is happy about it.
The festival’s organisers say it shows that stereotypes about Saudi Arabia are “disappearing” and the kingdom “accepts everyone”, according to Arabian Business. But human rights groups and critics have called on Minaj to pull out of the event.
They are slamming human rights violations in the country, particularly the imprisonment of women rights activists and the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. A letter has been written to Minaj by the Human Rights Foundation in which called on her to cancel the event.
“If you move forward with this performance for a festival sponsored by the Crown Prince, you will be in league with the people who respond to freedom of expression and thought with murder,” the organization wrote, warning the rapper that “it would be disastrous for a public figure of your standing who has articulated a commitment to education, women’s rights, and social justice.”
Former One Direction member Liam Payne and DJ Steve Aoki are also part of the Jeddah World Fest, which claims to be the largest music festival of its kind in the region.