Hip Hop Star Nelly To Perform In Saudi Arabia, In Front Of A Male-Only Audience?
People are all over Nick Cave’s performance in Israel, following harsh criticisms by high-profile artists, including Brian Eno and Roger Waters, who have all signed a pledge supporting ‘a cultural boycott of Israel’, a part of a lobbying campaign from BDS – a Palestinian-led movement ‘for freedom, justice and equality’.
However nobody is saying a word about Nelly performing in Saudi Arabia? I am not even sure I can fairly compare both things, because they are simply not comparable: Nick Cave is performing for all Israeli people and this is not a way to support the government and their actions, whereas Nelly’s performance will be strictly reserved for a male audience, as only men will be permitted to attend his show. Isn’t this a way to support insane laws against women’s rights in a country where women still cannot make major decisions without male permission, are not allowed to go to public swimming pools, are not allowed to compete freely in sports and have the worst dress code in the world?
The concert, set for December 14th in the city of Jiddah, will also feature Algerian singer Cheb Khaled, and tickets for the show are selling for as much as $120 in this very wealthy male-dominated Arab nation.
Why isn’t this a problem for these artists who are criticizing Cave and Radiohead, which also performed in Israel earlier this year? Saudi Arabia denies equal rights to half his population, and if I saw this article in BBC News, I don’t see people protesting the event, which will be supported by Saudi Arabia’s General Entertainment Authority.
In any case, there is something odd to see a rapper, whose lines often refer to sex, drugs and bling, perform in a country with such a strict ‘moral’ code. Or may be it’s not that strange after all, these people are not that different, most public places in Saudi Arabia, including restaurants and cafes, have two sections, one for men and one for women, and women are considered as half citizens. Saudi Arabia does not respect women, whereas Nelly was arrested last month after allegations of rape, so his performance in Jiddah can’t be a real surprise.