Yesterday, the United States–based human rights advocacy nonprofit Human Rights Foundation published an open letter to Tyga, asking the rapper to cancel a scheduled performance in the Belarusian capital of Minsk over concerns that the concert was “an excuse to cancel the opposition’s final electoral rally” on the eve of a potentially historic presidential election. Both he and SAINt JHN were set for the August 8 show. Now, both artists have announced that they have canceled their appearances and will not be traveling to Minsk for the show.
“I was looking forward to playing in Minsk for my fans in Belarus in the spirit of bringing great music to a market I’ve never played before,” Tyga wrote in a statement. “My performance was not politically motivated and to avoid any conflict with the Belarus elections, I will not be performing on August 8th in Minsk. I hope to be back to play for my fans there at a future date.”
In a video posted to his social media channels, SAINt JHN said, “Right now ain’t the time…. This just ain’t it. When things calm down and get a little more quiet…. There’s real things happening everywhere on the planet…. Everyone in Belarus that really fucks with us, thank y’all sincerely. But not today, and not tomorrow. Somewhere a little bit later down the line.”
Belarus president Alexander G. Lukashenko, who has been in office since 1994, is considered an authoritarian, with a track record of jailing political opponents ahead of elections and denying others the opportunity to appear on the ballot. His primary challenger in this year’s election on August 9 is Svetlana Tikhanovskaya, the wife of would-be candidate Sergei Tikhanovsky, who was arrested in May.