Nicki Minaj criticised by human rights activists ahead of Saudi Arabia performance

The rapper is due to appear at a festival in the country later this month

Nicki Minaj has been criticised by human rights activists for her decision to perform at a festival in Saudi Arabia later this month.

The rapper is scheduled to appear at the Jeddah World Fest, an alcohol-free event open to fans aged 16 and over at the King Abdullah Sports Stadium in Red Sea, on July 18. Liam Payne and Steve Aoki are also set to perform.

The Human Rights Foundation have asked Minaj to withdraw from the festival, citing Saudi Arabia’s poor treatment of women and minorities. CEO Thor Halvorssen wrote: “Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is the individual who authorized and is financing your seven-figure performance at the event. I am writing to urgently inform you of the human rights crises in Saudi Arabia.”

Halvorssen also noted that Minaj had recently “celebrated Pride Week to stand in solidarity with the LGBTQ community”, but likened her performing in Saudi Arabia to “condoning, and serving the public relations needs, of a government that executes homosexuals for the ‘crime’ of being who they are.”

The letter was sent to Minaj via email, as well as to her former managers Cortez Bryant and Gee Roberson, and Republic Records’ Robert Stevenson and Ben Adelson.

Speaking to The Hollywood Reporter, Halvorssen said: “What is Minaj thinking? How does she participate at World Pride one week and then hop on a jet to collect millions from a regime that beheaded five gay men this past April?

“[She will be performing] while the women in the audience will be wearing a full Abaya and separated from the men. Not one woman present is allowed to be there without a male guardian or without permission from a male in her household.”

You can view the letter from the Human Rights Foundation here. Minaj has not commented on the calls for her to pull out of Jeddah World Fest at the time of writing.

Last month, Minaj released her first new single since the release of her 2018 album ‘Queen’. ‘Megatron’ referenced Transformers and was accompanied by a video that starred the rapper’s boyfriend Kenneth Petty.