Erykah Badu Barred from Performing Because of Temporary Tattoo

By Lora Neng
February 29, 2012

Erykah Badu’s scheduled concert in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, was canceled due to anger over a publicity image showing the R&B singer sporting a temporary tattoo of the word “Allah” on her bare shoulders. Islam is the dominant religion in the country. Government officials said that her body art “triggered public criticism that could jeopardize national security and cause a negative impact to the government’s image.”

Malaysia’s Information Minister Rais Yatim explained that inscribing the Muslim word for God onto one’s body is “an insult to Islam and a very serious offense” to worshipers. Although the organizer Pineapple Concerts hopes that the ban will be reversed, the restriction is consistent with Malaysia’s policy of asking foreign performers to cover themselves in order to stage a show in the country.

The managing director of the company relayed that Badu is “worried and dismayed” by the government’s reaction, which also resulted in editors of the English daily that published the photo, The Star, to be called in to explain the photograph. The Star apologized for their “oversight,” but a human rights activist and blogger, Mohamed Rishad, defended the paper, saying, “At the end of the day, the newspaper was publishing a photo of a musician, an American one at that, so while we can get angry, it is not fair to the newspaper to get the people’s anger.” Badu is currently allowed into the country as a tourist.

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