Nicki Minaj praises ‘class act’ Manchester fans as gig axed after her arrest

Nicki Minaj has praised her fans for being a “class act” and understanding that her gig in Manchester had to be rescheduled after her arrest in the Netherlands.

The rapper and singer, 41, said she spent around six hours in custody at Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport on Saturday before being able to fly to the UK for her gig at Co-op Live arena.

Fans were let into the venue at around 7pm on Saturday for her show, before promoter Live Nation announced at around 9.40pm that it was being postponed.

Co-op Live Arena – Manchester
Co-op Live in Manchester has faced a number of issues since it opened (Peter Byrne/PA)

Dutch police said a woman aged 41 was arrested on Saturday after allegedly trying to take what it described as “soft drugs” from Schiphol Airport to another country.

An update from the force at around 9pm said it had released the “suspect and she can now move on” after paying a fine.

Minaj wrote on X: “Manchester I appreciate you. Class act. Give me until (tomorrow) for the update on our new date (please).

“It will be sometime in June or July like I mentioned last night.”

She also promised an “added surprise bonus” for fans and said she was “looking forward” to returning to Manchester for an already scheduled second night at Co-op Live on Thursday.

Minaj followed by saying that Birmingham’s Resorts World Arena date on Sunday would be a “magical beautiful happy fun unforgettable night”.

Alvin Christie, 29, from Liverpool, and his friend Connor. (Alvin Christie/PA)
Alvin Christie, 29, from Liverpool, and his friend Connor (Alvin Christie/PA)

She had invited her fans, known as Barbz, to her hotel in the centre of Manchester and spoke to the crowds outside including Alvin Christie, from Liverpool, who defended her.

The 29-year-old told the PA news agency that fans want her to be “in a good place” and “were just more concerned that she was OK”, placing the blame on the venue, which he was waiting outside from 9am to attend the concert.

He said: “I would say it was very poorly managed. When we arrived into the event, they were actively telling fans that she had arrived and that everyone was going to dance tonight.

“For a lot of people that were asking those questions, that’s obviously (keeping) people’s hopes up.

“I understand that maybe they wanted to get people into the arena for health and safety risks to stop people being outside. But I think, most importantly, they maybe could have advised people as soon as they’ve known that the show was postponed and we should be turned away when we’re outside the arena, rather than holding loads of people in the arena.”

Eileen Allardyce, 32, a hotel manager from Edinburgh, spent around £2,500 on tickets, travel and hotel costs and says she will not be able to make a rescheduled date.

She said that since Co-op Live announced its first delay to its live events in April, when comedian Peter Kay was due to perform, she had been “on eggshells” with her friends who also had tickets for Minaj.

“Obviously, it’s not Co-op’s fault what happened in Amsterdam, and it’s not Nicki’s fault either, like, obviously, no blame for her at all,” she said.

“But as I say, I just feel like the way they (the venue) handled it was just absolutely ridiculous. They have no clue, absolutely no clue. I don’t think they were prepared for anything, to be honest.”

She and Mr Christie claimed there were no toilets outside the arena for fans to use while queuing, and said more facilities are needed at the venue.

Mr Christie contrasted his experience at Co-op Live with Manchester’s AO Arena, where he said there are “general public facilities and coffee shops”.

Minaj wrote on X that she had arrived at her hotel in Manchester early on Sunday after spending “5-6 hours” in a cell and a delay to her flight from Amsterdam.

Inside Co-op Live arena on Saturday, (Alvin Christie/PA)
Inside the Co-op Live arena on Saturday night (Alvin Christie/PA)

She said the venue was “willing to go past 11pm”, and she pointed the finger at unidentified figures who had “succeeded at their plan to not let me get on that stage tonight”.

A statement from Live Nation said on Saturday: “Despite Nicki’s best efforts to explore every possible avenue to make tonight’s show happen, the events of today have made it impossible.

“We are deeply disappointed by the inconvenience this has caused.”

Trinidad-born Minaj, who grew up in the US and is known for the songs Starships, Super Bass and Anaconda, livestreamed being arrested and claimed that drugs were found in her luggage which did not belong to her.

This is the latest postponed gig at Co-op Live, which has been plagued by issues since trying to open in April, and having to reschedule its first official gig several times.

US rapper A Boogie Wit Da Hoodie moved his performance to the AO Arena over the delays, and Co-op Live began live music shows on May 14 when British rock band Elbow took to the stage.

Co-op Live, Minaj and Live Nation have all been contacted for additional comment.