The Journal Gazette
Wednesday, July 10, 2019 1:00 am


Minaj quits Saudi show over rights

Associated Press

Nicki Minaj is pulling out of a concert in Saudi Arabia because she says she wants to show support for women's rights, gay rights and freedom of expression.

“After careful reflection I have decided to no longer move forward with my scheduled concert at Jeddah World Fest. 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,” Minaj said in a statement Tuesday to The Associated Press.

Minaj was originally scheduled to headline the concert July 18.

In Saudi Arabia, gender segregation between single men and women is still enforced in many restaurants, coffee shops, public schools and universities, but other rules have loosened with women now allowed to drive and attend events in sports stadiums.

Jeddah World Fest, which in line with Saudi laws is alcohol and drug-free, is open to people 16 and older and will take place at the King Abdullah Sports Stadium in the Red Sea city. Other performers include former One Direction member Liam Payne and DJ-producer Steve Aoki.

Franklin honored

Michigan's governor has signed legislation honoring the late Queen of Soul with a highway designation.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer on Monday approved the bill to designate a portion of M-10 in Detroit as the “Aretha L. Franklin Memorial Highway.” Franklin died in Detroit last year after battling pancreatic cancer.

The Democratic governor notes in a statement that Franklin's “creativity and voice contributed to our musical and cultural history in Michigan.”

Supporters of the designation say dedicating a portion of the highway is a way to honor the musical and cultural icon, who grew up in Detroit and learned the gospel fundamentals at New Bethel Baptist Church.

Some Republicans who opposed the bill, however, have said such designations should only go to fallen first responders and military veterans.

Happy birthday

Among celebrity birthdays today: Actor William Smithers is 92. Composer Jerry Herman is 88. Singer Mavis Staples is 80. Actor Mills Watson is 79. Actor Robert Pine is 78. Guitarist Jerry Miller is 76. Actress Sue Lyon is 73. Singer Arlo Guthrie is 72. Bassist Dave Smalley is 70. Singer Neil Tennant is 65. Banjo player Bela Fleck is 61. Actress Fiona Shaw is 61. Drummer Shaw Wilson is 59. Singer Ken Mellons is 54. Actor Alec Mapa is 54. Actor Gale Harold is 50. Singer Gary LeVox is 49. Actress Sofia Vergara is 47. Singer Imelda May is 45. Actor Adrian Grenier is 43. Actor Chiwetel Ejiofor is 42. Actress Gwendoline Yeo is 42. Actor Thomas Ian Nicholas is 39. Singer Jessica Simpson is 39. Bassist John Spiker is 38. Actress Heather Hemmens is 35. Rapper-singer Angel Haze is 28.

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