Human Rights Foundation asks rap superstar Nicki Minaj to Cancel Show in Saudi Arabia

Nicki Minaj Human Rights Foundation — American Hip-hop superstar Nicki Minaj is currently scheduled to perform in Saudi Arabia. But Human Rights Foundation is calling on Nicki to cancel the show due to human rights violation in the Kingdom.

“Today, @HRF is calling on @NICKIMINAJ 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). Read our full statement here, including our letter to Minaj,” Human Rights Foundation posted on twitter, tagging Nicki Minaj herself.

In an open letter to Nicki Minaj, the CEO of Human Rights Foundation Thor Halvorssen writes: ” “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. Many of the women who have advocated to lift the driving ban in Saudi Arabia are currently in jail and being subjected to torture that includes electric shocks, flogging, and rape.”

The organizers of the music festival in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia announced the arrival of the American star, in order to change the image of the ultraconservative kingdom.

The spectacular swing of Nicki Minaj is about to shake the country of the two holy mosques. The rap star is currently scheduled to perfom a music festival on July 18 in Jeddah, western Saudi Arabia. Yes, Saudi Arabia! TThe organizers of the Jeddah festival announced, the “biggest musical event of its kind in the region,” according to the Arabic-language daily News, based in Jeddah.

“It’s going to attract a lot of attention for Jeddah in the most positive way you can imagine,” said Robert Quirke, president of event company Roque Media International, who is organizing the event. “She will be active on her social networks, posting [pictures] directly from the stage in Jeddah and from her hotel in Jeddah. Everyone will know that Nicki Minaj has landed in Saudi Arabia,” he added, according to the Saudi newspaper.

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According to the organizers, the British singer Liam Payne and the American DJ Steve Aoki will also be on the poster of the festival, which will be broadcast on MTV. “There is a stereotype of the Kingdom [of Saudi Arabia] around the world, and today it is disappearing,” said Raed Abuzinada, the festival’s general director and head of sector development within the Saudi General Authority for Entertainment. “Instead, [appears] a new image of the kingdom, [that of a kingdom] that accepts everyone is emerging. “

Established in 2016, this authority is part of the Saudi Vision 2030 economic plan. Launched the same year by the Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salmane (MBS), who effectively runs the country, it aims to diversify revenue sources in Saudi Arabia to prepare the country for the post-oil world. Based on a reduction in public spending and investment in the private sector, the plan cut subsidies for the 20 million Saudis. In addition, it invites people to participate more, especially women, in the labor market.

In return, MBS has agreed to liberalization within the country, starting with opening the Wahhabi Kingdom (ultra-radical version of Sunni Islam, Ed) to Western culture. So far, Saudi youth, who make up two-thirds of the population, could enjoy leisure only in the neighboring emirates of Dubai (United Arab Emirates) or Bahrain. Under the auspices of MBS, music concerts, comedy festivals, football matches for a mixed audience and movie theaters have already begun.

In ten years, the Saudi General Authority for Entertainment has planned to invest $ 64 billion, through public funding but also private. The announcement of the upcoming arrival of Nicki Minaj at the King Abdullah stadium in Jeddah provoked a stir on social networks, of which the Saudis are heavy users. ” I can not believe it. It’s like a dream come true, “wrote Manal, a fan of the singer, on Twitter.

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But the news did not only make happy, some netizens pointing the contradiction existing in the kingdom between the obligation for Saudi women to wear the abaya, the traditional clothing covering the whole body, and the outfits and poses for the less suggestive of the American artist. “She’s going to shake her ass and play her songs to the glory of sex … and then everyone will tell me to wear the abaya. What is that ? A young woman appeared on Twitter, tweeting her message.

From then on, the presence of such a controversial artist in a Muslim country with ever-so-conservative traditions is likely to provoke intense controversy and force the organizers to backtrack. Already, last month, the broadcast of a video announcing the opening of a nightclub without alcohol in Jeddah had angered many Saudis, and forced the authorities to cancel the project.

The information has in any case provoked human rights defenders. Since its accession to power, the “modernity” displayed by MBS (authorization of Saudi women to drive, speech castigating rigorous Islam) has been accompanied in parallel with an implacable repression against any form of criticism: princes and businessmen accused of corruption, conservative imams, writers, academics, bloggers and Saudi human rights activists.

Among them is a group of eleven Saudi activists, arrested in May 2018, on the eve of the historic lifting of the driving ban for Saudi women. Some of them, however, were active activists of the right of women to drive in Saudi Arabia!

According to a report by the NGO Amnesty International published in November 2018, some of the eleven activists imprisoned were allegedly sexually harassed, electrocuted and whipped, to the point where they could no longer walk or stand up. Denying this information, MBS Saudi Arabia, whose image has already been considerably tarnished by the October 2018 assassination of Saudi journalist critic Jamal Khashoggi (whom the CIA attributed to Mohammed bin Salman), has released seven of them. between them in May.

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Eric Thomas

Eric, originally from Nigeria, currently resides in Florida and covers a wide range of topics for The talking Democrat.