Mariah Carey
Mariah Carey to become first female international singer to perform in Saudi Arabia. In Picture: Mariah Carey performs at Z100's Jingle Ball 2018 at Madison Square Garden on December 7, 2018 in New York City. Getty Images/Dia Dipasupil

Mariah Carey is all set to become the first female international artist to perform in Saudi Arabia, a country that is known for its conservative religious practices and gender segregation. The singer is going ahead with her event despite protesters demanding that she use this opportunity to raise her voice for the women in the country who have been imprisoned for demanding equal rights.

According to The Washington Post, Carey’s publicist has said in a statement that the singer has accepted the offer to perform in Saudi Arabia and she sees this opportunity as a “positive step toward the dissolution of gender segregation.” With her performance she hopes to inspire all the audiences.

The activists, on the other hand, want Carey to highlight the situation of the jailed women in Saudi Arabia whose only crime has been to speak up for equal rights. Loujain al-Hathloul is one of the activists who has been in prison in country since May 2018 for fighting against laws like the one that stops women from driving, the law for which has since been changed, and the guardianship laws that prohibit women from taking part in certain activities without a male guardian.

According to Rolling Stone, Carey will be facing a mixed gender audience during her performance. The other artists who will be performing at the event are Sean Paul and Tiesto.

According to USA Today, some activists believe that the event with Carey is the government’s effort to improve its image after the killing of Saudi Arabia critic and Washington Post contributing columnist Jamal Khashoggi last year.

Saudi Arabia has taken some measures to allow more freedoms for women, but it has also taken steps against activists who have been demanding for more. Meanwhile, the country’s General Entertainment Authority has promised to bring in big names like Carey to perform. Some of the other artists who have performed in Saudi Arabia are The Black Eyed Peas, DJ David Guetta and Enrique Iglesias.

Omaima Al-Najjar, one of the Saudi Arabia activists who had to flee the country, has said that the government is using entertainment to distract people from its human rights abuses. According to the activists, the government can sense that there is growing anger among the public.