The iconic songbird will perform in Saudi Arabia on Thursday for the first time, outraging women’s rights activists who want her to pull out in support of detained women in the country.
The Associated Press reports that Carey, 48, is the biggest start to perform in Saudi Arabia since the notoriously conservative country loosened their strict entertainment restrictions, but activists claim Carey’s show is an effort from Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to improve the kingdom’s reputation after the Oct. 2 murder of Saudi critic Jamal Khashoggi inside the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul.
Reps for the singer told The Associated Press in a statement that when the “Hero” singer was “presented with the offer to perform for an international and mixed gender audience in Saudi Arabia, Mariah accepted the opportunity as a positive step towards the dissolution of gender segregation.”
“As the first female international artist to perform in Saudi Arabia, Mariah recognizes the cultural significance of this event and will continue to support global efforts towards equality for all,” the statement continued.
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