Saudi Arabia has invited “Nicki Minaj” to perform at a music festival this month

Nicki Minaj is scheduled to headline the Jeddah World Fest, a music and performance festival, on July 18. DJ Steve Aoki and singer Liam Payne have also been announced, and the kingdom is offering quick online visas for international visitors.Minaj is known for more than just her rap skills, with explicit lyrics and risque performances sometimes taking center stage. So why did she get an invite to Saudi Arabia, where public spaces are mostly segregated by gender and women’s rights are still restricted?

In a video posted on Twitter, a woman wearing a headscarf questioned why the authorities were welcoming the rapper, while requiring Saudi women wear the abaya – a long loose-fitting robe used to cover their bodies in public.

“She’s going to go and shake her butt and all her songs are indecent and about sex and shaking butts ,” she said. “And then you tell me to wear the abaya. What the hell?”

“Nicki Minaj” trended on Twitter on Wednesday as people reacted to the announcement.

“Imagine waking up from a three year coma and the first thing you hear is Nicki Minaj [is] opening a musical festival in Saudi Arabia, I’d honestly think I woke up in some parallel universe,” one person wrote.

Another questioned if the event organisers had Googled the performer prior to booking her. “No one in Saudi Arabia googled Nicki Minaj did they?” tweeted Kabir Taneja.

The concert is the latest example of the kingdom loosening restrictions on entertainment and encouraging the growth of the arts sector.

The Saudi government has made efforts to relax some of its restrictions. Last year, a 35-year ban on movie theaters was lifted, and women were finally given the right to drive. This year, Mariah Carey held her own concert in Saudi Arabia, despite backlash from women’s rights activists.It’s all part of an economic overhaul under Vision 2030, an effort to reduce the kingdom’s reliance on oil. The kingdom is attempting to create economic activity at home and encourage citizens to spend their money within its borders. But there are few entertainment attractions due to its ultraconservatism — hence, the Jeddah World Fest.