It has been an eventful week for American performers in the Middle East, as the provocative rapper Nicki Minaj announced her plans to perform in the conservative Saudi Arabia and singer-songwriter Joss Stone announced that she had been kicked out of Iran despite promising the country she would not perform.
In a post on Instagram, singer Joss Stone says she “got detained” and then “got deported” from the Islamic Republic.
Stone, 32, who currently on a world tour, wrote in the Instagram post that she does not “fancy going to an Iranian prison,” and “nor am I trying to change the politics of the countries I visit.”
The singer went on to say she was visiting the country on a “mission, to bring good feeling with what I have to give and show those who want to look, the positives of our globe.”
The extremist Iranian regime forbids women to perform publicly in the country, a fact Stone said she was aware of. “We were aware there couldn’t be a public concert as I am a woman, and that is illegal in this country.”
“However, it seems the authorities don’t believe we wouldn’t be playing a public show so they have popped us on what they call the ‘blacklist’, as we found out when we turned up to the immigration hall.”
She continued: “After long discussions with the most friendly, charming and welcoming immigration people, the decision was made to detain us for the night and to deport us in the morning. Of course I was gutted. So close yet so far; this moment broke a little piece of my heart.”
Joss Stone is not alone in wanting to perform in the Arab world; ‘Jeddah World Fest’ organizers in Saudi Arabia announced this week that rapper Nicki Minaj will be performing in Saudi Arabia on July 18.
Saudi Arabia has loosened its restrictions on entertainment in recent years, following the accent to power of reformist Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman (MBS) in the conservative kingdom.
Minaj is known for her provocative lyrics and videos, rapping things like “d**k bigger than a tower, I ain’t talking about Eiffel’s,” and in her latest hit, “Megatron,” “I f*** him like I miss him.”
The rapper is also known for her revealing clothes, sexually explicit performances and catchy tunes, all of which prompted confusion about her performing in the religious Muslim country across the internet.
The “international music festival” will take place on July 18, with acts such as Liam Payne and Steve Aoki joining Minaj at the event.