Janet Jackson and rappers 50 Cent and Future have just been announced as headliners of hotly anticipated music festival ‘Jeddah World Fest’, taking place tonight at the King Abdullah Sports Stadium in Saudi Arabia.
The three superstars are replacing Nicki Minaj, as she pulled out of the concert earlier this month, after the NY-based human rights organization HRH urged her to cancel her performance.
“While I want nothing more than to bring my show to fans in Saudi Arabia, after better educating myself on the issues, I believe it is important for me to make clear my support for the rights of women, the LGBTQ community and freedom of expression,” she said in a statement.
Jackson, 50 Cent and Future will be joining performers Liam Payne and Steve Aoki at the region’s biggest ever live musical event to date.
This isn’t the first time the Kingdom has played host to high profile pop stars though. Over the last few months, Saudi has seen the likes of Mariah Carey, Enrique Iglesias, the Black Eyed Peas, Sean Paul, David Guetta and Tiesto take the stage – an unusual move for a country known for its ultra-conservative policies.
Such changes have been on the rise this year, with Saudi Arabia trying to grow its entertainment industry and implement modernising social reforms.
According to the Wall Street Journal, the country is also planning to relax the country’s strict male guardianship laws to allow women to leave the country without needing permission from a male relative.