*Update: On July 9, Nicki Minaj announced the cancelation of her appearance in Saudi Arabia. Read updated story here.
Nicki Minaj is set to headline Saudi Arabia's Jeddah World Fest in just two weeks, but some women in the kingdom haven't been able to bite their tongues following the news.
Soon after Minaj's performance was announced, many said it's quite baffling to see the conservative kingdom hosting a rapper who's known for her revealing outfits and explicit lyrics - especially considering modest dress codes are still imposed on women.
"Get Mia Khalifa next time. You're embarrassing us," one Twitter user wrote in response to the news. In another video also posted on Twitter, one Saudi woman wondered why she (and all other women in the kingdom) were obliged to wear abaya when Minaj has been invited to "shake her ass."
The video, which was posted on July 2, has since racked up nearly half a million views on the micro-blogging platform.
As per Saudi law, women, both foreign and local, must wear abaya when out in public spaces. The Twitter user just couldn't fathom how imposing such a dress code makes sense when the country is proudly hosting a rapper known for her revealing attires.
"You can't bring Nicki Minaj to Saudi Arabia ... and then tell women to wear the symbol of modesty to go watch her performance on stage," the user says.
"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. What the hell?" she added.
Many Twitter users have been sending their wishes to the woman, advising her to stay safe in light of her video.
Women in the kingdom are discriminated against in nearly all aspects of public and private life, mainly due to a legal code influenced by a fundamentalist interpretation of Sharia law. In recent years, Saudi women have worked up the courage to speak up against the kingdom's customs and traditions, which limit most women's personal freedoms. In doing so, they have witnessed a number of fights materialize into real change.
"No one in Saudi Arabia googled Nicki Minaj did they?"
Minaj, a U.S.-based rapper from Trinidad, is not exactly the most "suitable" or "fitting" entertainer for the conservative kingdom, as many put it.
Well, Minaj has her own alcoholic beverage, MYX, and uses profanity and sexual (and drug) innuendos in her songs quite often. She even has a song called Ganja Burn; ganja meaning cannabis - which is illegal in the kingdom.
Remember when one Saudi singer was arrested for doing the "dab" because it was perceived as a dance that encouraged the use of drugs? But, it's somehow OK to host a Western rapper who explicitly integrates drugs and sex into her songs?
Many are pointing out the double standards with regards to authorities' treatment of certain cases versus others. The concert will be in line with Saudi Arabia's laws, meaning it will be both alcohol and drug-free; it is open to anyone above the age of 16.
"Will Minaj twerk with the abaya?"
Saudi Arabia has been investing in its entertainment sector, hosting a number of concerts and events. In 2017, the kingdom announced a budget allocation for the sector worth $2.67 billion under its Vision 2030 plan.
Earlier this year, a three-day music festival took place with a mixed-gender crowd dancing to songs by David Guetta, Enrique Iglesias, Black Eyed Peas, and Jason Derulo.
Minaj's concert is scheduled to take place at the King Abdullah Sports stadium in the Red Sea city.