By Jamila Najmuddin and Gandhya Senanayake
The government has decided to reject a visa for popular international R&B singer Akon to perform in Sri Lanka over allegations leveled against him regarding a controversial video which showed scantily clad women dancing around a Buddha statue. Akon was to perform in Sri Lanka next month and a major tourism drive was also launched to bring down fans from Asia for the concert.
Tourism Minister Achala Jagoda had met with President Mahinda Rajapaksa this evening to discuss the issue regarding Akon performing in Colombo and it is believed that the decision to refuse the singer a visa was taken following the discussion, Tourism Ministry sources told Daily Mirror online.
Earlier in the day the Tourism Minister had also met with other officials involved with the concert to discus concerns raised over one of his videos.
However, Lasantha Samarasinghe Director of Platinum Entertainment, the organizers of the Akon concert said that he has not been officially informed of a visa being rejected for the singer.
“We will take this up with the relevant authorities tomorrow,” Samarasinghe told Daily Mirror online. Akon is featured in the video 'Sexy Chick' by David Guetta and the making of the video shows bikini clad women dancing around a Buddha statue near a pool. Buddhist monks had called on the government to cancel the concert on the basis Akon appeared in the video and the video degraded Buddhism.
However organisers of the concert had said that Akon respected Buddhism and that the video was not his work. Earlier in the day Managing Director of the Sri Lanka Tourism Promotions Bureau, Dileep Mudadeniya told Daily Mirror online that the Tourism Ministry held discussions with the concerned authorities over the concert.
“There are many anti Sri Lankan elements who are trying to prevent such an international star from coming into the country. But at the same time there are some strong religious sentiments which are being raised. Both aspects are being studied,” Mudadeniya said.
When asked if the bureau was pressurized to reconsider facilitating the concert, Mudadeniya said the ultimate decision they take was not a result of outside pressure.
“There are a lot of concerns but that does not mean we are pressurized by anyone. The decision the minister makes is not a result of any pressure,” Mudadeniya said. (Daily Mirror online)
Akon (born Aliaune Badara Akon Thiam), is a Senegalese-American R&B singer-songwriter, rapper, record producer, businessman, and philanthropist. He rose to prominence in 2004 following the release of "Locked Up”, the first single from his debut album Trouble. His second album, Konvicted, earned him a Grammy Award nomination of the single "Smack That". He has since found two record labels, Konvict Muzik and Kon Live Distribution. He is known as one of the most successful and versatile R&B singers of the 21st century, grossing over 30 million dollars a year according to Forbes. Akon often sings hooks for other artists and is currently accredited with over 300 guest appearances and 40 Billboard Hot 100 songs. He is the first solo artist to hold both the number one and two spots simultaneously on the Billboard Hot 100 charts twice. He has had 6 Grammy Awards nominations and has produced many hits for artists such as Lady Gaga, Colby O'Donis and Leona Lewis.
Tuesday, 23 March 2010 16:05
Reply : 127 80
Tuesday, 23 March 2010 20:21
Buddhism is such a peaceful religion. Instead of showing our compassion and kindness, these people spread hatred.
Reply : 22 90
Tuesday, 23 March 2010 23:14
Let him come; perform the show; and, apologize for the video.
Reply : 27 74
Tuesday, 23 March 2010 16:12
One step forward, two steps backwards. (the story of our country!)
Reply : 61 142
Tuesday, 23 March 2010 16:14
This indicate that Sri Lanka is moving towards fundamentalism.
Reply : 54 92
Tuesday, 23 March 2010 16:15
Actually i got the ticket of Akon live in concert 2010.But now i'm helpless.Hope authorities will take better decision than this.We all know that akon is wrong however we just his fans in Sri Lanka.
Reply : 44 53
Tuesday, 23 March 2010 16:18
WELL DONE SRI LANKA,
Reply : 142 83
Tuesday, 23 March 2010 16:19
EXCELLENT. SEND THIS CLOWN BACK TO WHERE HE CAME FROM.
Reply : 144 81
Tuesday, 23 March 2010 16:20
This is absurd...! There is a saying "People in Glass houses shouldl not throw stones"
Reply : 49 88
Tuesday, 23 March 2010 16:20
I bought a ticket for 5000
Reply : 65 39
Tuesday, 23 March 2010 16:23
OK my Question is, WHERE CAN I GET A REFUND ON THE TICKET??? !!!!!
Reply : 30 65
Tuesday, 23 March 2010 16:33
Good Move! At last.
Reply : 113 64
Tuesday, 23 March 2010 16:34
WGreat!. There are officers with backbones now and not like Sieze Fire Agreement regime.! Weldone SL and "Do good to reciev good, AKON"
Reply : 92 55
Tuesday, 23 March 2010 16:39
If you are unaware of this women dancing around a Buddha statue is offending buddhists, apologize (provided you have a back born) and come to Sri Lanka. You are welcome akon. I'm a fan of yours!
Reply : 31 45
Tuesday, 23 March 2010 16:42
This is not good news for tourism. Bad publicity for the island.
Reply : 56 70
Tuesday, 23 March 2010 16:44
VISA can be provided to drug dealers, terrorists and other rogues, but not to a Grammy Award winning STAR. What nonsense. SL will never develope with such narrow minded thinking
Reply : 45 119
Tuesday, 23 March 2010 16:58
This is not good for Sri Lanka.
Reply : 37 65
Tuesday, 23 March 2010 17:00
Sad day for Sri Lanka. We keep going backwards not forward. Not every statue in a Lotus Position is Lord Buddha. Someone needs to educate our people
Reply : 41 65
Tuesday, 23 March 2010 17:01
I thought the ministry was also involved in bringing him down as a so called tourism drive.
Reply : 17 56
Tuesday, 23 March 2010 17:01
Promoting tourism is good. The question is why Akon? There are no other internationally famed artists inthe world?
Reply : 25 51
Tuesday, 23 March 2010 17:02
heh... what a Hippocratic Nation!!! I'm sad and ashamed!!
Reply : 42 73
Tuesday, 23 March 2010 17:03
C'mon, like seriously, This is why Sri Lanka is still the same since 1948... How unlucky we are... :-(
Reply : 39 57
Tuesday, 23 March 2010 17:04
I have seen the video on youtube, and there is no Buddhist Statue on it guys. Someone has got his wires crossed as usual.
Reply : 52 36
Tuesday, 23 March 2010 17:59
It can be seen in the very distant background, for around 2-3 seconds. Those who want to create issues will somehow find a way!
Reply : 16 37
Tuesday, 23 March 2010 18:24
We're happy that we have a few leaders with "backbones" who do not welcome any "garbage" coming from outside.
Reply : 53 24
Tuesday, 23 March 2010 17:11
Reply : 18 19
Tuesday, 23 March 2010 17:27
THIS IS THE ONLY REASONABLE DECISION TAKEN BY THE GOVERNMENT OF SIRILANKA.
Reply : 88 26
Tuesday, 23 March 2010 17:29
Akon, Lady Gaga, Colby O'Donis and Leona Lewi who cares for these junk singers. they only have popularity, no talent
Reply : 71 36
Tuesday, 23 March 2010 17:30
I don't believe that he meant any disrespect towards Buddhism ... There have been other video's that have had statues or places of worship appear in scenes, but no one has made a fuss. ... I suggest that people practice what they preach.
Reply : 11 44
Tuesday, 23 March 2010 17:48
Think twice before coming to Sri Lanka ... or ask Shahruk ...
Reply : 25 67
Tuesday, 23 March 2010 17:54
Sri Lanka has more important issues to worry about than Akon's visit.
Reply : 12 56
Tuesday, 23 March 2010 18:03
Geez ... this country talks of their "tolerance" and "equality" and all that .... Politicians talk highly about SriLanka being a very "religious" place, as if they are so "holy" ... Sad to say it, but our country is full of hypocrites ...
Reply : 9 40
Tuesday, 23 March 2010 18:10
Then let the "Dr." sing at the concert.
Reply : 7 43
Tuesday, 23 March 2010 18:14
Good decision. ... Grammy nominations were for the work he launched as productions and not for his singing or musical ability.
Reply : 23 18
Tuesday, 23 March 2010 18:14
As far as I know, he does not need a visa "to travel to Sri Lanka," as he is from the U.S. ... correct me if I am wrong.
Reply : 7 18
Tuesday, 23 March 2010 21:20
Actually, US passport holders who are visitng SL, as tourists, do not need visas. But, anyone who's coming to perform, for business reasons, needs a visa.
Reply : 5 13
Tuesday, 23 March 2010 22:22
Only tourists don't need visas. If your are here on business (like in the case with AKON) you do need a visa.
Reply : 5 12
Tuesday, 23 March 2010 22:59
Even tourists need visas. But, U.S. (and many other countries') citizens, coming as tourists, are granted visas on arrival, at the airport (so they do not need to be granted a visa prior to arriving at the airport). But, even this visa is granted at the discretion of the immigration authority, and they can refuse to grant the visa (e.g. if they believe the person is not really a tourist, or has no intention of leaving sri lanka, etc.).
Tuesday, 23 March 2010 18:21
A lot of people have bought tickets for this show. I guess the people who issued the tickets are going to have a bad time?
Reply : 9 18
Tuesday, 23 March 2010 18:29
Given our cultural context, this was an obvious move. ... Doesn't mean that we should get "all sensitive." Why are we so hypocritical? If we're so "religious," we should not allow our teenagers to go to clubs, in scanty clothes. Now that's a start!
Reply : 7 23
Tuesday, 23 March 2010 18:33
The only real chance we had to see a multi-platinum award winning artist and it's busted ... thanks! Even India didn't get his consent but Sri Lanka did, and we are blowing it! Wow, so-called "clean" Buddhists, at least if the "pansil" were consistently observed that would be something ...
Reply : 12 33
Tuesday, 23 March 2010 18:34
It's funny how in a country where Monks can be attacked in its own parliament, and even threatened, this happens! Akon was obviously ignorant. It's not like his lyrics or actions were directed against Buddhism. Now, Akon and loads of other tourists will never see the beauty of our island or the true virtues of Buddhism. "Well done," Lanka! We are becoming the "Iran" of Buddhism ... where is the "understanding" & "forgiveness"?
Reply : 9 55
Tuesday, 23 March 2010 23:13
If Akon (or anyone else) does something in ignorance, or otherwise, wouldn't it be better to invite them to Sri Lanka, teach them about Buddhism, and help them to understand how their actions have caused offence, and try to change their behaviour?
Reply : 5 38
Tuesday, 23 March 2010 18:35
Reply : 39 15
Tuesday, 23 March 2010 18:44
This act just gives more publicity to Akon, and especially to that video.
Reply : 12 24
Tuesday, 23 March 2010 18:45
Do you seriously believe that a religion that lasted 2,500 years, through much tumult, could be affected by a pop singer?
Reply : 9 31
Tuesday, 23 March 2010 18:47
It's kind of a weird situation. In the video you can see the Buddha statue, in the background, but the video never focuses on it. I don't know whether the statue was in the building they shot, or located outside. ... I think the government has made a bad decision.
Reply : 14 36
Tuesday, 23 March 2010 18:48
Major loss for Sri Lanka.
Reply : 22 30
Tuesday, 23 March 2010 19:15
Another election gimmick?
Reply : 17 29
Tuesday, 23 March 2010 19:23
People getaway with murder, and still call themselves "Buddhists." Compared to that, this is "a storm in a tea-cup."
Reply : 9 38
Tuesday, 23 March 2010 19:34
Ane 'pawu' ... the 'Colombians' are crying for Akon. Sad no? Whatever happened to 'country before self'? ... Has it now become 'Akon before self'? 'Akon before cultural values'? 'Akon before religious values'?
Reply : 44 20
Tuesday, 23 March 2010 19:34
In the whole video clip the girls are dancing in bikinis (not nude) and just in two places, in a flash, you can see a Buddha Statue (very far in the background), which could be a very common sight in Thailand or wherever it was filmed. The girls are NOT AT ALL dancing "around" the statue or in its immediate foreground.
Reply : 15 26
Tuesday, 23 March 2010 20:00
As if no other crime happen here, in front of Buddha statues? There are enough & more 'houses of ill fame' & bars right in front of temples ...
Reply : 8 29
Tuesday, 23 March 2010 20:07
I'm sorry to say that SL is becoming no different from some extreme muslim countries ...
Reply : 14 36
Tuesday, 23 March 2010 20:12
This a bad move by our stupid administrators.
Reply : 16 32
Tuesday, 23 March 2010 20:14
But, hey, what if he were to apologize?
Reply : 4 22
Tuesday, 23 March 2010 21:01
EXCELLENT! Good lesson for all who try to insult Buddhism.
Reply : 41 20
Tuesday, 23 March 2010 21:05
And once again, progress is "killed," by the hopelessly narrow-minded conservatives.
Reply : 13 27
Tuesday, 23 March 2010 21:12
This is hardly a song against Buddhism ...
Reply : 6 27
Tuesday, 23 March 2010 22:09
Reply : 27 21
Tuesday, 23 March 2010 22:42
VERY WISE MOVE.
THIS WILL ALSO SET AN EXAMPLE TO OTHERS.
Reply : 46 22
Tuesday, 23 March 2010 23:18
It is a pity that politicians and other extremists use Buddhism, as a tool, for political revenge.
Reply : 10 38
Wednesday, 24 March 2010 04:15
The main reason is not the religion.
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