Updated Jul 9, 2019

Nicki Minaj cancels performance in Saudi Arabia

Rapper Nicki Minaj performing

Photo: Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for TNT

Rapper Nicki Minaj on Tuesday canceled her performance in Saudi Arabia, citing her "support for the rights of women, the LGBTQ community and freedom of expression," CNN reports.

The big picture: The hip-hop artist was scheduled to headline act at the Jeddah World Fest on July 18, as the "ultraconservative kingdom" works to shake off its reputation for strict regulations on entertainment, per AP.

  • The performance was part of a push to increase tourism to the country. The Saudi government intended to issue visas to foreigners who planned to attend the show.

The state of play: Even though Minaj is known for her provocative dances and lyrics, the women that would have attended the concert were expected to dress in abayas (long conservative gowns) and headscarves.

  • Some women took to social media to critique the hypocrisy, according to AP.
  • The genders also would have been segregated during the performance.

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Editor's note: This piece has been updated to reflect that Minaj cancelled her concert.

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