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A planned performance in Saudi Arabia next week was cancelled by Rapper Nicki Minaj, citing her assistance for women’s rights and the LGBT environment.

Her publication credit at the Jeddah carnival caused an outcry from environmental record critics in the nation.

Others challenged how the ultra-conservative kingdom would reveal her costumes and explicit lyrics. Saudi Arabia has tried to ease entertainment constraints and foster development in its arts industry.

The country’s environmental record scrutiny deepened following the assassination last October of journalist Jamal Khashoggi at the Istanbul Saudi Consulate. In March, when it placed 10 women’s rights activists on trial, the government drew further criticism.

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“I decided not to move forward with my planned concert at the Jeddah World Fest after cautious reflection,” the singer said in a declaration.

“While I want more than anything to take my display to fans in Saudi Arabia, I think it’s essential for me to make apparent my respect for women’s rights, the LGBTQ community and liberty of speech after better teaching myself on the problems.”

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The U.S. Human Rights Foundation issued an open letter to Minaj on Friday urging her to withdraw from the festival on July 18. It called on her to “refuse the cash of the regime” and use her impact to demand the release of the women activists being arrested.

Those on social networking sites last week defined the singer’s choice to play in Jeddah as disingenuous, contrasting her presence at gay pride parades with the gay rights position of Saudi Arabia. Homosexuality in Saudi Arabia is prohibited.

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In receiving an opportunity to perform in Saudi Arabia, Minaj was not the first actor to provoke controversies.

Mariah Carey defied calls from human rights advocates earlier this year to cancel her appearance in the country, while rapper Nelly came under scrutiny last December for performing a show called “men only.”


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