Wednesday, 7 March 2012

Erykah Badu Controversion

Music makes the people come together. Unless those people are living under Malaysia's strict decency laws, then the music tends to get banned before it has a chance to reach them.

That's what happened this week, when the nation's government canceled a planned Erykah Badu concert after an ad promoting the event featured a publicity photo of the star showing off a temporary tattoo that read "Allah" in Arabic.

Claiming that the display of religious body art was offensive to its Muslim-heavy population, Badu's show—for which 1,500 people had already purchased tickets—was quickly shuttered.

So, what does the singer have to say about the heavy-handed censorship?

Surprisingly, so far, so good.

Badu seems to have taken the banning (handed down on the eve of her would-be performance) in total stride, and explained at a news conference in Kuala Lumpur that she was "sad" but "understanding" of the government's decision.

"It's sad, because we traveled a long way," she said. "But I'm totally understanding of [the minister's] protection of the laws and its people. He doesn't want anything to happen. I'm good with that."

Malaysia's Information Minister Rais Yatim had previously stated that the tattoo, which was painted on her shoulder, was "an insult to Islam and a very serious offense."

MORE: Sacha Baron Cohen's Dictator persona gets slammed by Arab-Americans

The image made the rounds on Monday, when it ran in the English-language Star newspaper. Politicians and religious leaders were quick to criticize both the publication and the singer, and the paper has already apologized for the "oversight."

Meanwhile, the 41-year-old Badu explained that the body art took its inspiration from The Holy Mountain, a surrealist film from the 1970s.

"I think art is often misunderstood in the realm of religion, and it's OK," she explained. "In America, it's a lot different. Art is also misunderstood but it is not such a harsh gesture to promote the names of God. I am learning and understanding about Islam in other countries more as we travel."

Still, there's clearly no hard feelings…at least not from Badu's side of things.

The singer said she would "absolutely" be willing to perform in the country in the future. Whether or not they'd be just as willing is another story.

No comments:

Post a Comment