Nicki Minaj has canceled a scheduled performance in Saudi Arabia, citing her support for women’s rights and the LGBTQ community.
“After careful reflection I have decided to no longer move forward with my scheduled concert at Jeddah World Fest,” the rapper said in a statement Tuesday 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,” she continued.
The Megatron rapper’s announcement came after New York-based Human Rights Foundation wrote an open letter on July 5, urging her to “refuse the regime’s money.”
The organization cited the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, Saudi Arabia’s imprisonment and execution of homosexuals, and its treatment of women.
Once Minaj said she would no longer be performing in the July 18 show, Human Rights Foundation praised her.
“This is what leadership looks like. We are grateful to Nicki Minaj for her inspiring and thoughtful decision to reject the Saudi regime’s transparent attempt at using her for a public relations stunt,” said Thor Halvorssen, president of the organization.
Halvorssen added: “Minaj’s moral stance differs from celebrity performers like J-Lo and Mariah Carey who in the past have chosen to line their pockets with millions of dollars and stand with dictatorial governments as opposed to with oppressed communities and imprisoned human rights activists.”