If Pop Star Bingo was a thing, you can be guaranteed that somewhere among the squares marked MISGUIDED ATTEMPT AT ACTING and PERFUME RELEASE, the bingo card would include a space that reads: PERFORMS FOR DICTATOR. It happens a lot. Mariah’s done it. JLo did it. And in 2015, Nicki Minaj performed at a Christmas party hosted by a company owned by Angolan dictator-type José Eduardo dos Santos. That may seem like Nicki likes money more than human rights. But that was then, and this is now.
Last week it was announced that Nicki would headline the Jeddah World Fest music festival on July 18 in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. Also performing are Liam Payne and DJ Steve Aoki. The Blast says that not long after it was revealed that Nicki would be headlining, president of the non-profit group The Human Rights Foundation, Thor Halvorssen, released a letter addressed to Nicki and Liam, asking them to reconsider performing. Saudi Arabia often makes the list of not-great countries for human rights. Saudi Arabia is one of the countries in the world where homosexuality is punishable by death. Women’s rights are severely restricted in Saudi Arabia. For example, women were finally allowed to drive cars in 2018.
Thor pointed out to Nicki that it’s just a tad hypocritical to perform in Saudi Arabia when she recently celebrated Pride Month.
I did my 1st pride concert in ATL like 10 years ago & I’ll never, EVER get over it. The energy in the room was like nothing I’d ever experienced b4. 🌈 I thank you & love you for all the love & support you’ve shown me. God bless my babies.
— MEGATRON (@NICKIMINAJ) June 29, 2019
“If you move forward with this performance, you will be condoning, and serving the public relations needs, of a government that executes homosexuals for the ‘crime’ of being who they are. Just three months ago five gay men were beheaded after they confessed to crimes under torture.
Considering the information above, HRF believes that your participation in a performance sponsored by a murderous, repressive regime involved in gross human rights violations – especially of women and sexual minorities — would be highly unfortunate. Furthermore, it would be disastrous for a public figure of your standing who has articulated a commitment to education, women’s rights, and social justice.”
Nicki may turn a blind eye to some labels, like “Sex Offender” or “Child Rapist“, but “Fairweather LGBTQ Ally and Fake Feminist” isn’t one of them. Nicki released a statement to the Associated Press, informing them that she will not be performing at Jeddah World Fest next week, and it’s for all the reasons Thor brought to her attention.
“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’s also opened up a line of dialogue on Instagram to directly address the situation with her Saudi fans.
View this post on Instagram
As for Liam Payne, he has yet to address the letter from The Human Rights Foundation. Organizers of Jeddah World Fest have yet to say who will replace Nicki as the headliner. I wonder if Nicki will address this whole situation on her radio show, Queen Radio. Or maybe she could use her platform to open up a larger conversation about women and the LGBTQ community? And no Nicki, talking shit about queer-identifying Miley Cyrus doesn’t count.