Nicki Minaj is heading to Saudi Arabia, The Associated Press reported Wednesday.
The hip-hop star, who recently released her new single “Megatron” is set to head to the conservative nation to perform as a headlining act at the Jeddah World Fest on July 18, per The Associated Press report.
The Juddah World Fest is a drug and alcohol-free event, in line with Saudi law, and will be open to all over the age of 16. It will take place at the King Abdullah Sports Stadium in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, a port city on the Red Sea.
The concert comes at a time where the country and its leader, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, are trying to provide a more youthful image for the country, which was recently embroiled in scandal because of the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, per Axios. The United States and President Trump have continued to support Saudi Arabia’s leader despite supposed evidence he ordered Khashoggi’s killing last year.
Despite the fact that the rapper is known for her provocative dancing, lyrics and music videos, women who attend the music festival later this month will still be expected to dress in the country’s long gowns known as abayas and are expected to wear headscarves, Axios reported.
Minaj will not be the first western performer to set foot in the nation this year. Recently the country has seen performances from a long list of western performers including Mariah Carey, Enrique Iglesias, the Black Eyed Peas, Sean Paul, David Guetta, and Tiesto, according to The Associated Press.
Saudi Arabia opened its first movie theater since the 1970s in 2018, with a showing of blockbuster hit Black Panther.
Saudi Arabia says hip-hop star Nicki Minaj, known for her provocative style, will perform in the ultraconservative kingdom as it sheds decades of restrictions on entertainment. https://t.co/0lFFJ99vB1 @ayaelb
— The Associated Press (@AP) July 3, 2019
Reactions to the announcement were mixed on social media. Some users tweeted jokes about Minaj’s upcoming performance, while other’s expressed disbelief and frustration that the U.S.-based artist would perform at the festival.
One Twitter user mentioned the hip-hop artist’s silence on current political events in Sudan.
“Rihanna tweets in support of the Sudanese revolution. Wyclef Jean dedicates a song for the Sudanese revolution. Meanwhile Nicki Minaj wants to get paid to sing in Saudi Arabia, whose regime is among the biggest supporters of the killers in Sudan.”
Another Twitter user shared an edited photo of Minaj wearing a headscarf, calling her “the gift that keeps on giving.”
Minaj will be joined alongside other western performers at the music festival, including former One Direction member Liam Payne and DJ Steve Aoki, according to the website for the festival. The event is expected to be streamed live online.
The Saudi regime said it will be providing quickly-approved electronic visas to those who want to travel to the kingdom to attend the festival, per The Associated Press.