The Governor of Mecca has ordered the arrest of a rapper named Asayel Slay for a music video entitled "Bint Mecca" or "Girl In Mecca."
Set in a coffee shop, the video sees Slay backed up by Black children as she raps praises of girls from Mecca, a Saudi Arabian city and home of the holiest site in Islam. “A Mecca girl is all you need," Slay raps according to Al-Jazeera. "Don’t upset her, she will hurt you,”
The song was pulled from the rapper's official YouTube channel after the controversy emerged last Thursday (a copy of the video is streaming at the top of the page). It was deemed blasphemous by Prince Khalid bin Faisal, the governor of Mecca province, who ordered the prosecution of Asayel and the production team involved in the video's creation: "['Bint Mecca'] offends the customs and traditions of the people of Mecca and contradicts the elevated identity and traditions of its sons," the Governor's official Twitter account posted on Friday.
Saudi activist Amani Al-Ahmadi told The Washington Post that Asayel is being targeted for her darker skin color. “It’s obviously targeted against a woman who they feel doesn’t represent what Saudi and Mecca should be... If she wasn’t a woman of color, they wouldn’t have seen her as a minority to target." On Twitter, pro-Saudi regime accounts promoted the hashtag "#You_Are_Not_Mecca’s_Girls" and urged officials to deport Asayel, who has African ancestry.
Last year, Nicki Minaj dropped out of the Jeddah World Music Festival, an event held in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. “I believe it is important for me to make clear my support for the rights of women, the LGBTQ community, and freedom of expression,” Minaj said in a statement. She was soon replaced by Future, Chris Brown, and Janet Jackson.