Ten artists hit by human rights criticism over concerts

Here are 10 artists who have drawn flak for agreeing to play in countries that have been criticized over human rights.

July 11, 2019 09:23
2 minute read.
Nicki Minaj arrives at Tidal's office in Oslo, Norway March 4, 2019

Nicki Minaj arrives at Tidal's office in Oslo, Norway March 4, 2019. (photo credit: REUTERS)


Dear Reader,
As you can imagine, more people are reading The Jerusalem Post than ever before. Nevertheless, traditional business models are no longer sustainable and high-quality publications, like ours, are being forced to look for new ways to keep going. Unlike many other news organizations, we have not put up a paywall. We want to keep our journalism open and accessible and be able to keep providing you with news and analysis from the frontlines of Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish World.

As one of our loyal readers, we ask you to be our partner.

For $5 a month you will receive access to the following:

  • A user experience almost completely free of ads
  • Access to our Premium Section
  • Content from the award-winning Jerusalem Report and our monthly magazine to learn Hebrew - Ivrit
  • A brand new ePaper featuring the daily newspaper as it appears in print in Israel

Help us grow and continue telling Israel’s story to the world.

Thank you,

Ronit Hasin-Hochman, CEO, Jerusalem Post Group
Yaakov Katz, Editor-in-Chief


LONDON - U.S rapper Nicki Minaj this week pulled out of a planned concert in Saudi Arabia, where same-sex acts attract the death penalty, after critics said it clashed with her support for LGBT+ rights.

Minaj, known for her provocative stage performances and skin-baring attire, was due to headline the Jeddah World Fest music festival on July 18, the latest example of the conservative kingdom loosening restrictions on entertainment.

Minaj, who took part in Gay Pride festivities in New York in June, said on Tuesday that she would no longer perform to make clear her support for women and LGBT+ rights.

Here are 10 artists who have drawn flak for agreeing to play in countries that have been criticized over human rights.

1. Mariah Carey ignored calls to cancel a concert in Saudi Arabia in January. Women's rights campaigners said the American singer's participation would "artwash" a government that has detained women activists in the past year on charges related to human rights work.

2. Madonna defied calls to pull out of an appearance at the Eurovision Song Contest in Israel in May over the country's treatment of Palestinians, saying "I'll never stop playing music to suit someone's political agenda."

3. British singer Robbie Williams was accused by critics of the Kremlin of "selling his soul" by performing at the opening ceremony of 2018 World Cup in Russia, which has cracked down on political critics and LGBT+ people. He went ahead with the gig.

4. Beyonce is among a number of stars who apologized for performing at private parties for former Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi. The singer announced in 2011 she had donated the cash she earned from her 2009 show to charity.

5. Jennifer Lopez also backtracked after performing at a private concert in Turkmenistan in 2013, attended by its president, who Western states accuse of political repression. "Had there been knowledge of human-right issues of any kind, Jennifer would not have attended," her publicist said.

6. John Legend was criticized for performing in 2015 in Bahrain, where authorities have detained activists and critics. The singer, who is known for speaking out on human rights issues, went ahead with the show.

7. US singer Lana Del Rey and New Zealand's Lorde have both pulled out of planned concerts in Israel in recent years following appeals from pro-Palestine activists.

8. However, indie rock giants Radiohead opted to go ahead with a 2017 gig in Tel Aviv despite criticism, saying "Playing in a country isn't the same as endorsing the government."

9. Spanish singer Julio Iglesias was urged by human rights groups to reconsider a 2012 show in Equatorial Guinea, which was reportedly organized by the president's son.

10. Bob Dylan faced criticism after he did not perform some of his best-known protest songs at 2011 shows in China. The singer later said there had been no censorship of his setlist by the country's authorities.

Sources: CodePink, Reuters, Twitter.

Join Jerusalem Post Premium Plus now for just $5 and upgrade your experience with an ads-free website and exclusive content. Click here>>

Related Content

Selling Drugs
July 23, 2019
Aussie driver crashes into police car with $140m worth of drugs in van


Cookie Settings