Rapper Nicki Minaj has canceled her concert appearance in Saudi Arabia amid calls to pull out due to the country’s human rights violations.
Just one week after her performance at the Jeddah World Fest was announced, Minaj said in a statement that “after careful consideration” she could no longer participate.
“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 a statement Tuesday to the Associated Press.
The Human Rights Foundation sent Minaj and her team a five-page letter last week detailing Saudi Arabia’s human rights abuses and requested that the “Megatron” rapper use her global megaphone to loudly cancel her appearance as “a symbol of solidarity with the ongoing suffering of the Saudi people.”
One Direction alum Liam Payne and DJ Steve Aoki are still scheduled to perform at the July 18 music festival, which will be drug and alcohol-free in keeping with the country’s laws. Neither artist has commented yet on their own participation in the concert.