US rapper Nicki Minaj is about to break records and make history as the first female pop singer to perform in the ultra-conservative Saudi kingdom. The news sent the social media on fire when announced on Tuesday, with many people applauding Saudi Arabia’s move to loosens its decades-old restrictions on entertainment.
She will be performing in the western city of Jeddah on July 18, organisers of the ongoing Jeddah Season cultural festival announced on Twitter on Tuesday. No hiding it, Minaj has her reputation for profanity-laced lyrics and raunchy music videos, and this will apparently mean a revolution in the Arab world.
“She (Minaj) is going to be actively on her social media, she’ll be posting right from the stage in Jeddah and at her hotel in Jeddah. Everyone is going to know that Nicki Minaj has landed in Saudi Arabia,” Robert Quirke, an event organiser, told
Arab News daily.
Nicki will be performing alongside British musician Liam Payne and American DJ Steve Aoki.
This development is one of the results of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s liberalisation drive in the kingdom. Saudi used to be synonymous with alcohol ban and a strict social code, but in recent times, we’ve seen cinemas, concerts and sporting extravaganzas spring up.
The Associated Press
Saudi Arabia says hip-hop star Nicki Min for her provocative style, will perform in ultraconservative kingdom as it sheds d restrictions on entertainment. apne.ws/
Hip-hop star Nicki Minaj to perform i
DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP)
imagine waking up from a 3 years comma and the first thing you hear is nicki minaj opening an MTV musical festival in saudi arabia, i’d honestly think i woke up in some parallel universe shit
Celebs Arabic @CelebsArabic
ﻧﻴﻜﻲ ﻣﻨﺎﺝ ﺳﺘﺼﻨﻊ ﺍﻟﺘﺎﺭﻳﺦ ﻭﺳﺘﺼﺒﺢ ﺃﻭﻝ ﻓﻨﺎﻧﺔ ﺗﻔﺘﺘﺢ ﺃﺿﺨﻢ ﺣﻔﻞ ﻣﻮﺳﻴﻘﻲ ﻣﺘﻠﻔﺰ ﻓﻲ ﺍﻟﺴﻌﻮﺩﻳﺔ .
ﻫﻞ ﻛﻨﺖ ﺗﺘﺨﻴﻞ ﺃﻥ ﻳﺤﺪﺙ ﻫﺬﺍ؟
I don't mind @NICKIMINAJ performing in Saudi Arabia--if she speaks up about women's rights there. Dedicate a song to Loujain al-Hathloul, the Nobel Peace Prize nominee who was tortured and sexually assaulted for advocating for women. Ask the crown prince to stop starving Yemen. twitter.com/TiffyRenner/st…
Tiffany Renner @TiffyRenner
Before performing in Saudi please check their human rights record and the poor condition of women right activists like Loujain Al Hathloul and others. You should not perform for a country with such poor records.@NickKristof @Amnesty
The news was widely welcomed in a country where two-thirds of the population is under 30, with one Twitter user posting a picture of Minaj and writing: “My dream has come true”.
But as expected, some others are outraged, with one saying, “She is going to go and shake her backside and all her songs are about sex… and then everyone tells me to wear the abaya. What the hell!” on Twitter.
Starting from this kind of events, Saudi’s General Entertainment Authority said it plans to pump $64 billion into the sector in the coming decade.
Saudi currently splurges billions of dollars annually to see films and visit amusement parks in neighbouring tourist hubs like Dubai and Bahrain, but the new direction is a subtle move to bring home these monies.
Earlier this year, Turki Al Al-Sheikh – Saudi Arabia’s General Entertainment Authority chairman – unveiled a program aimed at making 2019 the kingdom’s “year of entertainment.”
According to Arab News, the new plan is set to “transform Saudi Arabia into one of the top 10 international entertainment destinations.” With this, the authority’s officials will organize functions on a scale never seen before in the kingdom.
Unlike before, cafes and restaurants are now allowed to host musical shows, comedy performance and even magic shows. Aside from Nicki, Jay Z and DJ Khaled will also be performing in the Arabian kingdom this year. That’s aside from sports matches, and a lot of other line-ups meant to give life to Saudi’s entertainment industry.