US rapper Nicki Minaj will perform for the first time in Saudi Arabia this month, organizers of a festival announced, unleashing a storm on social media as the ultra-conservative realm strives to present a more liberal image .

Famous for his titles, which regularly reach the top of the most popular songs in the United States, but also for his outfits, for the raw lyrics of his songs and video clips, Nicki Minaj will be on stage in Jeddah (west) on July 18, according to the organizers of Jeddah Season.

British pop singer Liam Payne and American DJ Steve Aoki will also be featured in the event, which will be broadcast by the MTV music channel, local media said.

“She will be active on all social media, she will post live from the stage and her hotel in Jeddah.¬†Everyone will know that Nicki Minaj has landed in Saudi Arabia, “said Robert Quirke, an event organizer, quoted by local daily Arab News.

The arrival of the singer in Saudi Arabia – a country that banishes alcohol and imposes very strict social rules – comes at a time when the powerful Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman tries to launch a movement of liberalization, which translates into the opening of new cinemas and the holding of concerts or major sporting events.

The announcement of the concert was greeted with trepidation by a good part of the youth, in a country where two thirds of the population are under 30 years old. “My dream come true,” tweeted a user with a photo of the singer.

But it has also scandalized the conservative fringes of opinion.

“She’s going to come shake her ass and perform her songs to the glory of sex (…), and then everyone will tell me to wear” the abaya “(traditional feminine clothing that covers the whole body, ed) . What is that? “, A young woman rebelled in a video posted on Twitter.

Saudi Arabia is determined to change its image as an ultra-conservative kingdom and is now promoting the development of the entertainment industry, although some see it as a way to make people forget about the economic slowdown and high youth unemployment. .

The authorities of the kingdom have planned to invest 64 billion dollars (57 billion euros) in the entertainment sector over the next decade.