Mariah Carey’s team defended her decision to perform in Saudi Arabia amid pleas for her to cancel the upcoming concert.

Meanwhile, people continue to speak out as the pop star nears the controversial gig.

Carey has received a wave of pushback since her performance in the country was announced last week, with the women-led social justice group Code Pink urging Carey not to perform in what the organization described as “one of the world’s most repressive, misogynist, gender-segregated countries.”

The concert comes after the Saudi Arabian government began to ease up on its limitations of entertainment entities, and Carey’s camp argued that the singer saw her performance there as progress.

“When presented with the offer to perform for an international and mixed gender audience in Saudi Arabia, Mariah accepted the opportunity as a positive step towards the dissolution of gender segregation,” a rep for Carey said in a statement.

“As a female songwriter with a message of empowerment & equality, she looks forward to bringing inspiration & encouragement to all audiences,” the statement continued.

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