AceShowbiz - Hip-hop star Nicki Minaj has cancelled plans to perform in Saudi Arabia after "educating" herself on the allegations of human rights abuses plaguing the nation's royal family.
The "Megatron" rapper recently accepted an invitation to take the stage at the Jeddah World Fest on July 18, in what was set to be her first show in the conservative country following officials' attempts to modernise society by opening the first movie theatre in the nation and lifting restrictions on other forms of entertainment.
However, Minaj quickly found herself under fire from human rights activists for agreeing to perform in Saudi Arabia, where the rights of women and members of the LGBTQ community are still severely limited under the leadership of King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud and his son, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
Demonstrators at the Human Rights Foundation issued an open letter urging Minaj and fellow performers Liam Payne and DJ Steve Aoki to reconsider the concert last week (ends July 05), and on Tuesday, the New Yorker bowed to the pressure of protesters.
In a statement issued to The Associated Press, she writes, "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."
Human Rights Foundation president Thor Halvorssen has since praised Minaj for the move.
"This is what leadership looks like," Halvorssen shares in a new press release. "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."
"The July 18 festival in Saudi Arabia still shows Liam Payne as a performer. We hope that he follows Nicki Minaj's lead."
Representatives for Payne and Aoki have yet to respond to the backlash.