The HRF sends a letter to Nicki, strongly urging her to cancel her upcoming show in Saudi Arabia.
It's not news to anyone (or at least, it shouldn't be) that Saudi Arabia is known to have a pretty backward take on politics and ridiculously harsh restrictions on women's rights. For these reasons - and in this day and age especially, when basic human rights and acceptance of every individual's choices - media coverage on the country and others' support of it has been anything but positive. Following the assassination of journalist Jamal Khashoggi last year, people have been boycotting anything to do with the Saudi government even further. The WWE has been under fire for partnering up with the country to put on a number of high-profile shows over there, and public figures have called out Vince McMahon on his decision to remain in Saudi Arabia, but more recently, it seems they have someone else's actions to question, as it was announced two days ago that Nicki Minaj would be headlining a festival performance in the city of Jeddah this July 18th.
As of today, fuel has been added to the fire that is the controversy surrounding Minaj's decision, as the Human Rights Foundation took to publically call upon Nicki to "cancel her performance scheduled for July 18 at Jeddah World Fest, a state-sponsored music festival funded by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS)." The post also included a link in which users could read their full statement, which included a letter they had personally penned to Minaj on an attempt to strongly urge her to reconsider. "Ms. Minaj, as you can see, you are scheduled to perform at a state-sponsored event in one of the most repressive regimes on earth—a country whose leader has also led a relentless campaign to silence women's rights activists," HRF CEO Thor Halvorssen said in the letter. He also drew attention to the fact that Nicki had recently expressed her public support for the LGBTQ community, and that following up that move with this decision would make no sense.
In an accompanying news release, the HRF also recalled that this July performance wouldn't be the first controversy of this nature for Nicki, as she was criticized back in 2015 - by the HRF and others - for agreeing to perform for former president José Eduardo dos Santos and his family in Angola.