How you like that Saudi? K-pop sensation Blackpink announce shows in the Middle East

How you like that Saudi? K-pop sensation Blackpink announce shows in the Middle East
2 min read
09 August, 2022
K-pop sensation Blackpink are set to perform in the Middle East for the first time, as part of their upcoming world tour.
The 'How You Like That' singers are set to perform in Riyadh and Abu Dhabi in January 2023 [Getty]

K-pop girl-group sensation Blackpink have surprised Arab fans after announcing a series of concerts in the Middle East. 

The four-member girl band will perform in Riyadh on 20 January 2023 and Abu Dhabi on 28 January as part of their 'Born Pink World Tour', which will take place between October 2022 and June 2023.

Their Saudi show will form part of the Riyadh Season 2022, an annual cultural event that usually takes place between October and March with the Korean band confirmed in the line-up.

"Blackpink is one of the biggest surprises at #Riyadh_Season 2022… You will see great and varied surprises, and we will announce them to you soon," Saudi Arabia's General Entertainment Authority Chief Turki Al-Sheikh wrote on Twitter.

This will be the first time the 'How You Like That' singers – who have over 76.2 million YouTube subscribers and over 13.4 million monthly streams on Spotify - have ever performed in the Middle East.

The news has left their Arab fans ecstatic, some saying it felt like they had "won the lottery".

"I can't believe BLACKPINK in riyadh," commented one fan.

In recent years, Saudi Arabia has eased decades-long restrictions on entertainment, as part of efforts to improve its image abroad, attract more tourists, encourage investment, and increase domestic spending.

The conservative kingdom has since hosted international musicians such as Janet Jackson, 50 Cent, and Korean pop group BTS. Concerts like this would have been unimaginable a few years ago.

But the kingdom continues to face consistent criticism of its human rights record, amid a continuing crackdown on dissenting voices.

Opponents of the government ranging from feminist activists to conservative clerics have been jailed and tortured, with a number dying due to medical neglect.