Imani Jackson Authors Article on Nicki Minaj’s Appearance Cancellation at Saudi Music Festival
Imani Jackson, University of Florida College of Journalism and Communications Brechner Center for Freedom of Information legal fellow, is the author of “Nicki Minaj Takes Stand for Human Rights, Pulls Out of Saudi Arabia Music Festival” published in Essence on July 12.
Jackson writes about the hip hop and pop singer’s decision to cancel her appearance at the Jeddah World Fest in Saudi Arabia after human rights advocates applied pressure. The Human Rights Foundation published a letter listing Saudi human rights violations, arbitrary law enforcement practices and the targeting of women and minorities. The letter prompted Minaj to rescind her promise to perform despite the reportedly seven-figure payment she would have received.
According to Jackson, “Politically, socially, morally and ethically, Minaj reminds us that the time to take a stand—from where we stand—is now. For Minaj, backing out of the Saudi show reflects sensitivity to the lived experiences of and persecution experienced by people who are neither cisgender nor heterosexual. As is widely known, LGBTQIA+ people form a noteworthy contingent of her Barbz [Minaj’s online fans].”
She adds, “Her performance cancelation also reflects refreshing self-awareness because she delved deeper into social injustice across borders and shared that her knowledge about Saudi Arabia steered her against a symbolic co-sign in the midst of so much entrenched oppression.”