When thinking of Saudi Arabia, one might not immediately conjure images of Nicki Minaj, but that’s about to change. The female rapper is headed there to perform.
Organizers of Saudi Arabia’s Jeddah World Fest announced on Wednesday that the ‘Anaconda’ rapper will headline the concert, which is happening on July 18 at the King Abdullah Sports Stadium, according to The Miami Herald. The concert will run consistent with Saudi laws, meaning no alcohol or drugs. It is open to people 16 and older.
News of the female rapper’s upcoming performance has been met with criticism by some. A Saudi woman posted a video on Twitter where she criticized the Saudi government for its double standard – having Minaj, who is known for her skimpy attire and profanity-laced verses perform while requiring women there to dress modestly in abayas and to be largely separated in public from men. Saudi women also mostly cover their hair and faces.
“She’s going to go and shake her ass and all her songs are indecent and about sex and shaking ass and then you tell me to wear the abaya,” the Saudi woman says, reported The Miami Herald. “What the hell?”
The concert will be broadcast internationally by MTV, according to Saudi organizers. In addition to Minaj, other Jeddah World Fest performers include Liam Payne of Britain and American DJ Steve Aoki. Organizers say Saudi Arabia is also making it easier for international tourists to obtain visas to attend the festival by providing electronic visas in a fraction of the time it would take for standard visas.
In recent months, the kingdom has welcomed performances by Mariah Carey, Enrique Iglesias, the Black Eyed Peas, Sean Paul, among others.
Although the concerts represent a stark change from the days when Saudi morality police would shut down spots playing loud music, no concert will explain away the repressive and violent actions that have occurred in Saudi Arabia against people who have vocally challenged the government. In October, well known Saudi writer and critic, Jamal Khashoggi, was killed by Saudi agents.