When Nicki Minaj pulled out of the Jeddah World Fest in Saudi Arabia earlier this month because of the country’s discrimination against women and the LGBT community, The Human Rights Foundation’s president said, “This is what leadership looks like.”
But some artists have chosen not to follow the “Queen” rapper.
The website for the music event was recently updated with its replacement acts, which include Janet Jackson, 50 Cent, Chris Brown, Tyga and Future. Jeddah World Fest takes place on Thursday, July 18, at the King Abdullah Sports Stadium.
The Human Rights Foundation is just one of the organizations that asked artists not to perform in Saudi Arabia, where it was just made legal for women to drive last year.
But women still have a strict dress code they have to abide by and can be stopped by religious police for wearing too much makeup. Moreover, there’s gender separation in public places like banks, office buildings, restaurants and schools, which all have different entrances for men and women.
“After careful reflection I have decided to no longer move forward with my scheduled concert at Jeddah World Fest,” wrote Minaj last week. “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.”
The artists who’ve decided to play the event didn’t provide an explanation, but they were blasted by Human Rights Foundation president Thor Halvorssen, who called their decision “profoundly distressing.” He also believes the artists put money over doing what’s right.
“These individuals constantly make public statements of support for LGBT rights and women’s rights, except, apparently, when a seven-figure check is attached,” he told The Associated Press. “The hypocrisy is breathtaking. Principal apparently matters to them far more than principles.”
Halvorssen also sent a tweet where he once again praised Minaj for leaving the concert while he slammed others.
“@NICKIMINAJ is the brightest star in the darkest night,” he wrote on Thursday. “Meanwhile @LiamPayne @50cent @JanetJackson @steveaoki @tyga @chrisbrown (mega-millionaires) left their morals behind and went to #Saudi to collect money they don’t need at concert where women must’ve permission and gays.”