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Nicki Minaj
Photo Credit Frazer Harrison/Getty Images

Nicki Minaj Cancels Saudi Arabia Concert In Support of LGBTQ and Women's Rights

"This is what leadership looks like."

Nicki Minaj canceled a concert in Saudi Arabia in protest of human rights violations.

The rapper was scheduled to headline the Jeddah World Fest on July 18 but dropped out after human rights groups called for her to cancel her appearance.

In a statement to Associated Press Tuesday, Minaj said she canceled after further educating herself on the political climate of Saudi Arabia.

“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,” Minaj said in the statement.

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In Saudi Arabia, gender segregation between single men and women is still widely enforced in public spaces and schools. Women were recently granted the right to drive.

Jeddah World Fest, which takes place in King Abdullah Sports Stadium in the Red Sea city, is in line with Saudi laws and operates alcohol and drug-free.

The Human Rights Foundation had issued a statement last week, calling for Minaj and other performers to cancel their sets.

“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,” Thor Halvorssen, president of the Human Rights Foundation, told AP.

He continued, "The July 18 festival in Saudi Arabia still shows Liam Payne as a performer. We hope that he follows Nicki Minaj’s lead. 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.”

Within the last few months, Saudi Arabia has hosted performances by Mariah Carey, Enrique Iglesias, the Black Eyed Peas, Sean Paul, David Guetta, and Tiesto.

The Jeddah World Fest is now set to be headlined by former One Direction member Liam Payne and DJ-producer Steve Aoki.

In the past, Saudi morality police would raid establishments that played loud music.