Akon postpones show after uproar
Published 24/03/2010 | 18:01
Akon has postponed a planned concert in Sri Lanka following angry protests over a music video he was in.
The RnB star was due to perform in the predominantly Buddhist country next month but there has been growing outrage over the Sexy Chick video, in which scantily clad women dance in front of a Buddha statue.
Sri Lanka has now said it wouldn't issue Akon - who expressed regret and said he wasn't previously aware of the statue in the video - a visa for the concert, and his booking firm confirmed the show had been postponed.
In the video, women in bikinis are shown dancing at a pool party with a Buddha statue occasionally visible in the background. It "triggered a lot of disappointment among Buddhists all over the world," the government said in a statement explaining why it wouldn't give Akon a visa.
Earlier this week a mob hurled stones at a private broadcaster that was helping sponsor the event and a 'We Hate Akon' page on Facebook has attracted thousands of members.
Akon said he was "disheartened" to hear of the media attack and didn't mean to offend any religion.
"I was not aware that the statue was even on the set of the video until now. I would never set out to offend or desecrate anyone's religion or religious beliefs," he said in a statement.
His international booking firm, American Talent Agency, said it hoped to reschedule the concert after ensuring the safety of the singer and his fans. "Akon is looking forward to performing for the people of Sri Lanka and we hope to have this situation resolved in the coming weeks," they said in a statement.
Concert promoter Lasantha Samarasinghe said he will ask the government to reconsider its decision.