Despite protests, Justin Bieber performed in Jiddah in Saudi Arabia over the weekend.
The concert took place Sunday night, even as human rights activists called on Bieber to cancel the performance. David Guetta and Jason Derulo also performed at the event. Human rights organizations asked the musicians not to be a prop for the Saudi regime.
Human Rights Watch and other organizations called on celebrities to boycott the kingdom. Justin Bieber was the headlining performer for the Saudi Arabia Grand Prix concert – and he has not commented on the public pressure surrounding the appearance. His wife, Hailey Baldwin posted an Instagram video of him on stage, with the caption ‘go baby.’
The fiancee of Saudi critic Jamal Khashoggi asked Bieber and others to reconsider their performance. “Send a powerful message to the world that your name and talent will not be used to restore the reputation of a regime that kills its critics,” Hatice Cengiz wrote to Bieber. Prince Mohammed bin Salman attended the race and showed him taking selfies with young men.
The Human Rights Foundation wrote Nicki Minaj and Justin Bieber a letter urging them to cancel their appearances. Justin Bieber went through with his Saudi Arabian concert.
In 2019, rapper Nicki Minaj cancelled her scheduled appearance in Saudi Arabia. At the time, Minaj cited her support for women’s rights and the LGBT community as reasons why she couldn’t headline another festival in Jeddah.
“After careful reflection, I have decided to no longer move forward with my scheduled concert at Jeddah World Fest,” Minaj told fans. “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.”
Mariah Carey defied calls from human rights organizations and performed in Saudi Arabia. Rapper Nelly also performed at a men-only concert in the country, prompting a backlash against the musician.