“I could make one mistake & go to jail in a diff country where women have no rights,” she wrote.
Minaj’s songs have lyrics about female sexual and social empowerment, and references to drugs, and alcohol.
Jeddah has a reputation as the most liberal Saudi city, but is still subject to its rules.
Women’s rights in the Kingdom are strictly limited by the legal guardianship system, which requires every woman to have a male “guardian” who is responsible for her.
Many women attending the festival will wear a full body covering, like a burqa or niqab, coupled with a cloak called an abaya.
The Kingdom’s human rights record has been under intensified scrutiny since the murder of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi in October 2018.
Minaj’s decision came after The Human Rights Foundation on Friday demanded that Minaj cancel her appearance.
“The Human Rights Foundation considers the Saudi regime to be one of the world’s worst human rights violators and has contacted Minaj, urging her to cancel her performance, refuse the regime’s money.”
Saudi Arabia has relaxed some laws in recent times. In 2018, cinemas were opened for the first time in 40 years. Around the same time new laws permitted women to attend sports events, and also to drive a car.
In recent years, Saudi Arabia has also become more of a fixture in the touring schedules of western pop stars. Artists like Mariah Carey, Enrique Iglesias, Black Eyed Peas, Sean Paul, and David Guetta, have all played in the country.
Reacting to Minaj’s decision to abandon the festival, Thor Halvorssen, president of the Human Rights Foundation said: “This is what leadership looks like.”