Sri Lanka bans rapper Akon over racy video 'defaming Buddha'
SRI Lanka has refused to issue a visa to Akon, the Senegalese-American singer and rapper due to perform there next month, after Buddhist activists took offence at one of his music videos.
They said yesterday that the video for Akon's song Sexy Bitch, featuring bikini-clad women dancing in front of a statue of Buddha, had offended members of the Sinhalese ethnic majority, which is mainly Buddhist.
On Monday, hundreds of protesters stormed the head offices of the Maharaja Broadcasting and Television Network, the concert's media sponsor, injuring four employees, smashing windows and damaging parked cars.
Sri Lankan officials said Akon and his entourage had yet to apply for visas but the government had already decided not to allow him into the country for the concert on April 24, which is sold out.
Anusha Palpita, the Information Department's director-general, said the main allegation against Akon was that his video was "defaming Buddhism".
A statement on Sri Lanka's official government news portal added: "Apart from this particular controversial video clip, some of Akon's lyrics are not suitable for public articulation." Sri Lankan activists opposed to the concert have formed a "We hate Akon" group on Facebook, which had 11,700 members yesterday.
Akon said in a statement he had not been aware of the statue: "I myself am a spiritual man, so I can understand why they are offended, but violence is never the answer and I am disheartened."
The incident illustrates the influence on the government of hardline Sinhalese nationalists.
The Times, syndicated here: http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/wo ... 5845492276
My initial impression is that it Akon was grossly insensitive and as a result of protests, Akon portraying himself as victim.
Anyway, what are your thoughts?