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Sunday, 22 October 2017
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Kill Akon Anger on planned concert PDF Print E-mail

Whilst the organizers are confident that they will not cancel the performance under any circumstances, Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau watches from a safe distance on the developments. Repeated attempts by Perambara to contact Dileep Mudadeniya, Managing Director of SLTPB for comments failed.

Opposition to the planned concert by international hip hop star Akon is growing on the net. The comments on facebook range from beating those who go for the concert, to killing the performer himself. The other end of the spectrum calls for absolute security for those who go for the event.

When eager fans line up outside the SSC Stadium on April 24 to watch Aliaune Badara Akon Thiam, known popularly as AKON, they will be walking into a high security zone where the entrance would be lined with body checks and scanners. During the performance, they will be watched by armed guards who will be ready to sprint into action.

The reason is facebook.

The Senegalese rapper who has lived a life of controversy, will be travelling with heavy baggage when he visits Sri Lanka for his tour. On one had he will carry the raunchy video which surfaced in 2007 of simulated sex with Danah (Deena) Alleyne, who was fifteen at the time.

The baggage on the other hand is heavier. The music video of “Sexy Bitch”, a project Akon did with French producer David Guetta shows a bikini-clad woman dancing on a platform with a Buddha statue in the backdrop. A few seconds of a music video which the Sri Lankan online Buddhist community does not take lightly.

A facebook group titled “We Hate AKON (Abuse Music Video Against Lord Buddha)” is currently at 8000-strong, and gaining more support each day. A smaller group called “Akon Who Disgraced Buddhism – STOP Sri Lanka Concert !” is smaller in numbers, but more vocal in its discussions. They call for boycotting the event altogether, with a few of the aggressive members calling for violence against the artist.

“We are aware of the movement, and we have seen both videos. The one with the girls dancing near a statue is not necessarily them dancing in front of it, but the statue is set as a backdrop. Buddha statues are used as decor in the western hemisphere, like in the Parisian club Buddha Bar” said a spokesperson from the organizers, YES FM.

Ven. Hegoda Vipassi looks at the issue from a different angle. “This is a Buddhist country, and by inviting a person who has defamed Buddhism to perform here, we are implying an honour to him. As Buddhist clerics, we are strongly against this move” – this is a sentiment which is echoed on the facebook groups as well.

The comments on the groups vary. Whilst some posts call for violent action against Akon, another points out “Let’s not make it easy for them to tag us the extremists”. A member reminds that all steps should be taken to ensure that a repeat of the hand grenade incident when Bollywood strongman Shah Rukh Khan was performing in Sri Lanka does not take place.

The event, according to organizers is backed by Sri Lanka Tourism (SLTPB). Responding to Perambara, an official from SLTPB said that they are watching the situation and the sentiments of the people, and they were aware of the facebook comments. Whilst the organizers are confident that they will not cancel the performance under any circumstances, Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau watches from a safe distance on the developments. Repeated attempts by Perambara to contact Dileep Mudadeniya, Managing Director of SLTPB for comments failed.

By Dinidu de Alwis for Perambara


 
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