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The New Arab

Lebanon pop-star Nancy Ajram to perform her first concert in Saudi Arabia

Ajram adopted a public image as a sex symbol [AFP]

Date of publication: 10 June, 2019

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Lebanese pop star Nancy Ajram is set to perform in Saudi Arabia for the first time this month.
Lebanese pop star Nancy Ajram is set to perform in Saudi Arabia for the first time this month, according to an announcement she made on her social media accounts.

Ajram, who became famous after the release a controversial Egyptian smash hit single "Akhasmak Ah" in which she adopted a public image as a sex symbol, shared the news with her fans in a tweet on Saturday.

"Meet me at the Jeddah Season event on June 13th," she said.

In 2010, Ajram was announced as the bestselling Middle Eastern female singer of the 21st Century's first decade, and she was recently declared the most popular regional star on social media, with almost 18 million followers on Instagram.

Ajram will not be the first female singer to perform in a public concert in the ultra-conservative kingdom.

In April, Lebanese pop star Elissa took to the stage in Jeddah, where she was banned from dancing during her performance.

A clip circulated on social media platforms showing the diva asking permission to dance from the organisers, but being turned down.

"Salem can I dance a little? No? He told me no," Elissa said.

Last year, Saudi Arabia's entertainment authority warned  that "dancing and swaying" was strictly banned at concerts.

Despite that, the kingdom has recently been relaxing its decades-old ban on entertainment and fun.

The entertainment drive is seen as a way of bringing in cash for the struggling economy by encouraging Saudis to spend money at home, lure foreign visitors, create jobs for young Saudis, and cement the young prince's power. 

While the government put on concerts, including a performance by the Black Eyed Peas and Nelly last year, the reform push has been accompanied by a crackdown on dissent, including the arrests of women's rights activists, clerics and intellectuals.

The murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi last October has also tarnished the country's image and scared off some potential investors.

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