Women Are Not Invited to Nelly's Saudi Arabia Show

Image via Getty
Image via Getty

Nelly is going to be performing “Hot in Herre” for a whole lotta dudes in Saudi Arabia next month, since women will not be allowed to attend the show.

According to the Washington Post, the rapper will have second billing behind Algerian singer Cheb Khaled at the December 14 concert, though given the kingdom’s strict stance on explicit lyrics, it’s unclear how many hits he’ll actually be able to perform.

The event is part of an effort to lift the country’s economy, spearheaded by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. His hope is to lift some of the draconian policies to which the country has long been tethered. Part of the reform package is the creation of the General Authority for Entertainment, into which $2.7 billion has been poured in hopes of stimulating Saudi leisure activities. Still, tickets to to the event—which cost up to $120—are only available to men, to the irritation of many women in the country.


“Why is it male only?” asked one user on Instagram, per BBC. “Its so sad that girls are not allowed to be there and see you,” said another.

Toby Keith also played to a male-only crowd in Saudi Arabia this year, performing alongside lute player Rabeh Saqer. Even Keith had trouble following the strict orders he received not to sing any songs with racy lyrics, telling the Atlantic that “There were only four or five things that I could play that were famous.”

The reform’s treatment of women has been uneven; in October, Saudi Arabia announced that three major sports stadiums would, for the first, time be open to women, and in September, it decided that women would finally be allowed to drive.

Night blogger at Jezebel

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Mortal Dictata

Wait so in this case State-repression of women’s human rights has ended up being beneficial?

Also the Crown Prince’s reforms have nothing to do with actually reforming the country culturally but just to make it tolerable enough to much-needed foreign investment in the coming post-oil world.