Nicki Minaj to 'shake her ass' in conservative Saudi Arabia

Nicki Minaj will headline an upcoming music festival in Saudi Arabia.

The 'Anaconda' rapper, whose lyrics are frequently sexually explicit, will perform at the Jeddah World Fest on July 18. Joining her will be DJ Steve Aoki and singer Liam Payne.

The announcement surprised fans and outraged many Saudi women, who can attend the concert but will be expected to dress modestly, as per the conservative kingdom's rules. 

"She's going to go and shake her ass and all her songs are indecent and about sex and shaking ass, and then you tell me to wear the abaya," one Twitter user angrily said in a video, it was widely reported. "What the hell?"

The abaya is a long cloak worn by many women in Saudi Arabia. Though not compulsory, there is considerable pressure on women to cover up. 

Saudi Arabia has tried to loosen its hardline conservative image in recent years, hosting Western pop stars like Mariah Carey, the Black Eyed Peas and David Guetta in recent months. It hasn't always resulted in a good look for either party - 'Hot in Herre' star Nelly performed in front of a male-only crowd in 2017. 

Middle Eastern news service Al Jazeera noted the conflicts between Minaj's public image and that of the kingdom, saying her lyrics are mostly about "sex, rumoured liaisons with other rappers and female empowerment".

"Her famously large posterior is regularly referenced, as is a play on words between her surname and a French term for group sex."

BBC News noted Minaj has appeared at gay pride events, while homosexuality in Saudi Arabia is punishable by death.

"No one in Saudi Arabia googled Nicki Minaj did they?" a fan on Twitter wrote.

Minaj has yet to comment on the announcement. She's no stranger to signing up for controversial gigs, performing in Angola in 2015 despite human rights groups saying her US$2 million fee was only possible thanks to "gross human rights violations".

Minaj's latest single 'Megatron' didn't chart in New Zealand, but peaked at 20th in the US singles chart.