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Alicia Keys received backlash for organizing a Women's Day event in Saudi Arabia, with some calling it "misogynistic."
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Alicia Keys received backlash for organizing a Women’s Day event in Saudi Arabia, with some calling it “misogynistic.”

Alicia Keys, a performer, openly advocates for women’s rights, holding a Women to Women summit and sharing motivational posts on Instagram to celebrate International Women’s Day. However, her hosting of the third edition of the summit in Saudi Arabia has caused some to question the strength of her message.

The American entertainer, along with Pharrell Williams and other guests, will be discussing the progress of women’s impact on culture in Saudi Arabia and globally, as announced by her before the gathering in the coastal city of Jeddah.

Peter Tatchell at a protest march taking a selfie

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“I am ecstatic to return to the stage, this time in Jeddah, where I have never performed before. This performance will be a new experience for me in this region,” exclaimed Keys. “I am also incredibly motivated to engage with the incredible women there and have meaningful conversations about cultural, creative, and boundary-breaking narratives that we are all contributing to. With International Women’s Day approaching, it’s the ideal moment to address important issues that impact us.”

Activists advocating for human rights, such as Peter Tatchell, have urged the 43-year-old celebrity to refuse to attend engagements in Saudi Arabia. The country imposes restrictions on women’s activities and discriminates against various minority groups. Tatchell stated that any artists who choose to visit Saudi should use their platform to publicly condemn the lack of women’s rights and the other human rights violations occurring in the nation. He specifically called for the release of all political prisoners.

He stated, “It is not appropriate for Alicia Keys and Pharrell Williams to have a performance in Saudi Arabia. The country is ruled by a dictatorship and oppresses women, LGBT individuals, and others based on their religious and ethnic backgrounds. Many women are imprisoned due to the country’s discriminatory laws. The government also brutally killed and dismembered journalist Jamal Khashoggi.”

The female competition coincides with the host country’s Formula One race and is supported by Keys’ spouse, the rapper and music producer Swizz Beatz, and his creative organization Good Intentions, along with the global music platform MDLBeast. Keys will also perform alongside Williams prior to the grand prix.

Tatchell stated that it is completely hypocritical for Saudi Arabia to invite Alicia Keys to an International Women’s Day gathering while simultaneously imprisoning women’s rights activists. He expressed shock and disappointment that Keys would be complicit in the attempt to cover up the oppressive treatment of women in Saudi Arabia.

The person who sings and has their early years featured in the popular stage production “Hell’s Kitchen” is returning to Saudi Arabia for the third time. In the previous year, they also organized the Women to Women conference in the city of AlUla.

Celebrating International Women’s Day on social media, Keys urged her audience to eliminate any doubts they have about their abilities to achieve their desired future. She encouraged them to remove words like “not,” “can’t,” and “won’t” from their vocabulary.

Source: theguardian.com