Singer jailed for two years over music video accused of inciting 'debauchery and immorality'
From Madonna to Beyoncé to Nicki Minaj, there have always been sexy singers with raunchy lyrics and seductive dance moves. These pop stars captivated the youth, while the older generation clutched their pearls, offended by the so-called immoral, vulgar music. In fact, it goes all the way back to the 50's. Elvis Presley would bump and grind his hips, making young ladies swoon, but outraging their parents. What was considered racy generations ago seems pretty tame today.
In America, conservative pundits might huff and puff about how offensive our sexually-charged pop stars are, but at least they're free to perform, and never end up in jail. In Egypt, the singer Laila Amer was not so lucky. The Giza misdemeanor court sentenced her to two years in jail over a music video accused of "inciting debauchery and immorality." The director of the video was sentenced to six months and a man who appeared in the video was sentenced to two months. (An embed of the music video is below. Currently it can only be found on YouTube in blur-tastic 240p quality.)
The music video is for the song "Bon Omak (Look At Your Mother)". The title is a pun on the popular Arabic profanity "kos omak," which translates to "your mother's vagina." (Now you have something new to yell when somebody cuts you off in traffic.) In the video, Amer makes some suggestive gestures, bellydancing and swinging her hips.
But the clips of these "controversial" moves are short and the camera's pretty far away. Compared to, say, Nicki Minaj's Anaconda, it looks like The Disney Channel. Most of the video features Amer as a downtrodden housewife complaining to her husband about his bossy mother.
On the same day, the Egyptian court sentenced the famous Arabic singer, Sherine Abdel Wahab, to six months in prison. But her crime wasn't sexually suggestive dancing. It was making comments that they considered offensive to the Nile River. At a concert, a fan asked Sherine to sing "Mashrebtesh Men Nilha (Have You Drunk From The Nile?)." In response, she joked that you shouldn't really drink from The Nile, because it might give you "schistosomiasis," a form of parasites that used to be widespread in Egypt. "Drink Evian instead," the singer recommended.
Sherine later apologized for her "foolish joke" in concert, but it didn't stop the legal proceedings. As additional punishment, the Egyptian Musicians Syndicate banned her from performing due to her "unjustified mockery of our dear Egypt."
But isn't her joke technically true - that if you drink from the Nile, you might get sick? Come on, Egyptian court. Denial isn't just a...I'm not going to finish that because I don't want to be thrown in prison. But word of warning to all of you Egyptian singers: Don't make a sexually suggestive song about The Nile River, or you might be thrown in prison for life.
All you sexy singers should be happy you live in countries where you can't be arrested for twerking.