US rapper Nicki Minaj will perform in Saudi Arabia this month, triggering a storm on social media as the Kingdom loosens decades old restrictions on entertainment.
Needless to say, the Bang Bang hitmaker is known for her profanity laced lyrics and raunchy music videos. Alas, Minaj will perform in the western city of Jeddah on July 18, organizers of the ongoing Jeddah Season cultural festival announced on Twitter recently.
The headline act, to be televised on MTV, will also feature British musician Liam Payne and American DJ Steve Aoki.
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”. Others posted doctored images of the rapper in traditional Saudi dress. But it also triggered outrage from conservative quarters.
Saudi Arabia is boosting entertainment that allows citizens to have fun, in what some see as an attempt to blunt public frustration over an economic downturn and high youth unemployment.
However, Jeddah has been laced with controversy since a mixed dance-floor on the opening night of the city’s ‘halal’ nightclub brand was closed.
The instance occurred just before US-based performer Ne-Yo was scheduled to headline the club’s grand opening during the waterfront festival.