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Trinidad & Tobago: Akon Controversy Continues

The recent scandal involving US hip-hop artist Akon brutally gyrating on a 15-year-old Trinidadian girl at the island's popular Zen nightclub has taken both the mainstream media and the blogosphere by storm – mere hours after the incident took place, the video was on YouTube – not to mention scores of blogs, many of which have been enjoying more hits than usual.

In a bid to stem the already extensive and continuous coverage of the event, the teenager’s family is seeking to legally bar the media from further publishing photos and the girl’s name, as she is a minor. Club Zen has apologized for the incident. But apologies have not appeased some bloggers, who remain outraged about the whole episode.

The Modest Goddess has seen the video and is

“not sure what’s more disturbing – the girl being flung and dragged around the stage, legs twisted into varying positions to facilitate his act until he abandons her crumpled on the floor? Or the cheering of the crowd, the roaring approval of the crowd, the screaming, clapping, appreciative crowd. The same crowd that now stands in judgement of what happened.”

She is also concerned about the fact that

“on the various blogs on which it appears, comments are being left that use the most derogatory of insults. The girl…has been universally labeled a ho. It reminds me of the age old excuses given for rape – she wanted it, she asked for it, she enjoyed it, she was dressed like a ho, hell, she is a ho.”

Disparaging comments were also the reason that Caribbean Public Relations decided to back away from the issue:

“I've deleted the post about the indecent dance between Akon and the 15-year-old girl, which has garnered this site at least 4,840 hits in just one week. Now one would think that I'd be ecstatic over this jump in readership. I'm not.”

In response to the Trinidad Express interview with the girl's father, The Manicou Report voiced his opinion on the behaviour of both parties:

“I don't know what you'd call that barely-there red top, matching heels, low-rider jeans and lower back tattoo, but “innocent” isn't the word that comes to mind. She's wearing a crucifix though, so I guess it's all OK. Secondly, Akon. There's not much I can say for Akon except that I'm more than just a little disgusted. I don't think I have ever seen anything more dehumanizing being passed off as entertainment. To see a big strong man like Akon treat another woman like a hump toy without any regards to her personal safety is appalling to me.”

By contrast, Colonise This! says:

“What is at issue here for me is not what Danah was wearing or the fact that she was underage, nor is it the practice of performers inviting members of the audience up on the stage to “wine” with them. What is at issue is what this affair represents: the consistent and constant erosion of social, moral, intellectual boundaries, that moves people of African ancestry closer and closer to the animal kingdom and makes us less and less recognisable as sentient and thinking beings.”

Afrobella is also disturbed by the racial implications:

“So then this Akon thing happens, and I can’t look away from the comments pages. And I find the same ignorant beliefs being spouted again and again. ‘This is a part of Caribbean culture, get over it.’ ‘That’s how they dance in Trini.’ ‘Those Caribbean girls get down like that.’ And all of the old school disses delivered to dark skinned people that you might expect…Yes, scandalous dancing is celebrated throughout the Caribbean, all you need to do is do a You Tube search for ‘dutty wine’ or ‘dancehall queen’ to find an array of NSFW videos of women getting down on all fours to degrade themselves. But Akon took it to a whole ‘nother level.”

The incident has sparked considerable discussion over what has become a basic tenet of Caribbean culture – wining. Barbadian blogger Eemanee at What crazy looks like agrees that Akon…

“was perhaps a bit over-zealous and dishonest (there being no trip to Africa) but just how does his performance differ from that of many of our Caribbean performers or your average drunken revellers at Crop Over or Carnival; or that of the dancers in the latest passa passa video? If Akon has disrespected us it means we have been disrespecting ourselves for quite a long time.”

But Caymanian Mad Bull saw nothing out of the ordinary in Akon's behaviour, making the point that many of the region's soca stars behave in a similar fashion onstage. Gallimaufry disagrees:

“I’ve been to plenty (well, enough) fetes and soca/reggae shows and I’ve seen revellers at Kadooment and thing, so believe me, I’ve seen raunchy, but that isn’t just raunchy, that is brutal and scary.”

Posting from Trinidad, Dre at Allyuh.com was just as appalled at what he calls “Akon's Party Politics, producing a comprehensive roundup of politicians’ (including the country's Prime Minister) comments on the issue:

“Patrick Manning is now looking into the issue, pointing fingers in Zen’s direction and asking for the nation to forgive Danah:

‘I have taken very careful notice of this matter and the owner of Zen owes it to the public to take responsibility. I will be interfacing with Zen because that kind of thing should never be allowed to happen in this country.

‘The owner (of Club Zen) should not be allowed to have such a kind of scene, (and) the public should forgive Danah.'”

Meanwhile, Trinidad Carnival Diary reports that Club Zen has been shut down indefinitely on the heels of another unsavoury incident involving a music star – but
Trinidad and Tobago News Blog reports that the closure was short-lived, perhaps making Genie X‘s comment about Akon all the more relevant:

“But what of Akon? He was deceitful, egotistical, misogynistic, disrespectful and contemptuous. What price has he paid for his behaviour? What have been the repercussions of acting like an animal? Well, the only one I have seen so far, is that his record label has rallied to protect its ‘investment’, by attempting to hide the evidence of his despicable acts by having it removed from You Tube. Any and every behaviour by black people against black people is okey-dokey with them as long as the music keeps selling. Beyond this one disheartening act, there is the loud and eloquent sound of silence.”

35 comments

  • trinis are hypocrites. this preacher man is a failure if his daughter is at this club at this hour…he is the one who should look in the mirror…akon and the club owners are in the business of entertainment…most of which is sexual…is this a surprise to anyone?
    and why not ban carnival if you guys are so worked up about dry humping…have you seen a carnival float recently?
    come on people quit being hypocrital

  • bjensen8

    akon should be EXTREMELY ashamed of himself!!!that just shows how PEOPLE like him can exploit little girls who trust him to be in his videos!he should be arrested and put on trial for the indecent performance put on in this little video of his.no matter if he had the consent of this little girl.THIS IS AMERICA!WED DO NOT TREAT PEOPLE THIS WAY!

  • Jroc

    You people are seriously missing certain points. This whole event could have been prevented by
    1. Not allowing your underage daughter to dress as she does.
    2. Not allow your underage daughter to out at late hours.
    3. Not allowing underage CHILDREN into ADULT EVENTS (this club is a 18 and over club)!
    4. If you do searches online, you will see that this young girl has been dressing the way she does since she was at least 12…and has a tattoo at the age of 15.

    What people don’t understand is that this young girl walked into an adult show and decided that she wanted to represent herself as an adult. Akon and his staff don’t regulate who comes through the door and comes to the event that people are spending there money to see. It is no secret that Akon has a part of his show where he is wining and grinding a female, it’s all over youtube with celebrities and others having fun (Tara Reid). It is also no secret that growing up in on a small caribbean island, that at a young age you will make friends with certain people who are going to do you favors by letting you into overage clubs as long as you don’t get into trouble. I grew up in Hawaii and I could get into certain clubs at a young age and drink, and that’s a state…imagine a Caribbean Island.

    Do your research and see that this young girl has been acting out at a young age, and lets not judge Akon, but the parents of this girl for her actions. She may be a child and I agree that it shouldn’t have happened to her, but Akon was not performing at a all ages club or event. This was for adults.

    Jroc

  • HOTSTEPPERALY

    I SEE ABUSE 24/7 IN MY JOB AN DANAH IS A WALKING TESTIMENT OF THAT I DONT CARE ABOUT AKON I AM SERIOUSLY WORRIED ABOUT THAT GIRL SOME THING IS VERY VERY WRONG I THINK THAT SHE HAS BEEN THROUGH SOME THING AWFUL.PEOPLE MIGHT DISAGREE BUT LOOKIN AT THE END OF THE CLIP WHEN HE LEAVES HER ON THE FLOOR IT HIT ME LIKE A TON OF BRICKS. THAT IS NOT NORMAL BEHAVIOUR UNLESS YOU ARE DRUNK OR ACTING OUT WHAT HAS HAPPENED TO YOU SHE HAD A PLASTIC SMILE ON HER FACE ALL THE TIME THIS WAS HAPPENING THERE IS NOTHING IN HER FACE AN THAT SCARES THE HELL OUT OF ME.I HOPE WE WILL COLLECTIVELY APOLOGISE IF THAT GIRL HAS BEEN ABUSED BY SOMEONE . GO AN SEE WHAT THE NICE BOYS NA GIRLS HAVE WRITTEN ABOUT A FELLOW HUMAN BEING I AM NOT HER AN I CRIED IT WAS HORRENDOUS.STABLE PEOPLE DONT START DRINKING FROM THE AGE OF 12.SOME THING IS NOT RIGHT

  • al

    this girl old man is a preacher man! lay the blame at his feet and her mother if she’s got one…when people screw up their kids and they fall through the cracks then they want other people to clean up their mess..akon is all about bumping and grinding so if you go on stage with him you’re on your own
    and no word from hypocritical Trinidadians about shutting down carnival and banning floats…y’all see carnival lately?
    oh you’re a set of hypocrites

  • Jasmin

    First of all the young lady did not have a sign on her neck stating that she only 16. so how was he suppose to know that. To enter the club you have to be 18 year, so in his mind everyone is legal. The young lady father did not know his 16 years old girl child was not in the house, now who to blame, because you dont have control over your minor daughter. The way she sat on top of him and ride him like he was a horse. You could see this is not new to her. Any woman who get on stage with anybody and let them do that to them only have their self to blame. I never once hear her say stop. she was having to much fun. we as parent only have our self to blame, me as a mother every night check to make sure my 18 & 14 years old daughters are in the bed before i go and sleep. don’t blame Akon if that’s the case then blame her parent for not knowing where she was. I am sure when she got up on stage she never said that I am only 16yrs old. Everyone it just looking to befefit, if he was not a celebrity the media would not have air this so much.

  • j0hn

    theres two side of every story one is “akons” hiphop mentality girls dancing, sex, drugs, etc. we see rappers in MTV pouring wine on women, rappers in stripclubs, having affairs with too many women and yet there are songs that talks about “loving you forever” “your the only one” etc. MTV is not made for adults only it is made for all minor or not and they imitate it. they think its okey. whats the deal?? black people are the ones who familiarize us with negative words making it sounds “cool” or okey, its so easy to blame the parents who works hard all day, MTV should be blame for this kinds of acts, the artist also they are public figures and should act positive, and wise, the buisnessmen who profits, akons songs are not all bad, but the rap culture is into sex drugs alcohols womanizing… and then they sing one or two positive songs… too much contradiction

  • […] I swear, after this I’m done with the Akon thing. It’s become a far bigger news story than I expected, and gone on for far too long. […]

  • Zi

    im sorry but the person who made a comment about America is inaccurate. America!!!! for heavens sake that country has no culture. you have produced artists like snoop, 50 and the whole hip-hop industry so you have no right to look down on the carribeans. i don’t even understand why akon is being criticised for doing his job. he is an entertainer and he thought the girl was legal…if the club had been more responsible then this would not be such a big issue. if women want to get down, they are not stupid, thet are aware of what they are doing. she was into it and so was he. the parents and the club should be blamed…women make it easy to be treated as sex objects, she was not raped so whoever posted that rape comment should take note of that. this should in no way deter from the fact that akon is an amazing artist, so what if he is human, get over it! if women do not want to be mistreated don’t put urself in tht situation, its as simple as that.

  • Akon Sorry for Trinidad Humping…

    After being dropped by Verizon, Akon (Aliaune Thiam) issued a public apology for the incident at the Zen nightclub in Trinidad where he simulated sex with an underage girl:
    “First, and most important to me, I want to sincerely apologize for the e…

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