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Nicki Minaj pulls out of Saudi Arabia festival after backlash

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Rapper Nicki Minaj has cancelled a scheduled performance in Saudi Arabia next week, citing her support for the rights of women and the LGBT community.

Her headline billing at the festival in Jeddah triggered an outcry from critics of the country’s human rights record.

Others questioned how her revealing outfits and explicit lyrics would go over in the ultra-conservative kingdom.

Saudi Arabia has been trying to ease restrictions on entertainment and to encourage growth in its arts sector.

“After careful reflection I have decided to no longer move forward with my scheduled concert at Jeddah World Fest,” the singer said in a statement.

“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.”

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