Todd Hartley: I’m With Stupid
The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO Colorado
Sometimes controversies are truly controversial, and one can expect people to react strongly one way or another to them. Sometimes, though, controversies are something else entirely, and then things can get a little confusing. I’ll give you a recent case in point.
Senegalese-American recording star Akon was scheduled to perform in Sri Lanka next month, but the Sri Lankan government has refused to issue him a visa because he has apparently offended that country’s Buddhists.
The cause of the offense was a video for the song “Sexy Chick,” which features a bunch of scantily clad women dancing in front of a statue of Buddha. So enraged were Sri Lanka’s supposedly nonviolent Buddhists that on Monday hundreds of them stormed the head offices of the Maharaja Broadcasting and Television Network, the media sponsor of the planned concert, injuring four workers, damaging parked cars and shattering windows.
Upon reading about this controversy, I thought to myself, “Wow. That must be a really offensive video to drive Buddhists to protest so violently.” I was also left with a number of pertinent questions, among them: How did so many Sri Lankan Buddhists happen to see this video? And also, since I know nothing about modern music, who the heck is Akon?
It turns out Akon is a wildly successful singer-songwriter, record producer, businessman and philanthropist. He burst onto the scene in 2004 with his debut album, “Trouble,” and now grosses more than $30 million a year, according to Forbes magazine. He has garnered six Grammy Award nominations and frequently sings lyrics for other artists on their recordings.
In fact, that’s exactly what Akon was doing on “Sexy Chick,” which is actually credited to an artist named David Guetta (featuring Akon). So the video wasn’t really Akon’s to begin with, but sort of a joint venture between him and Guetta. Still, it had to be a really offensive video, and I knew I had to see it to get to the bottom of this controversy.
Now, I own a TV with hundreds of channels beamed to it via satellite, but to be honest with you, I don’t know if any of those channels, including MTV and VH1, actually play music videos anymore, so there was no chance of my finding the “Sexy Chick” video on TV. Fortunately, I also have a computer with access to the Internet, so I could always look for it on YouTube.
I own these things because I am a material-possessions worshipping American, not a Buddhist. It could rightly be assumed that any Buddhist who adheres at all strictly to their faith would own neither a TV nor a computer, and thus would have no access to the video. Apparently, this is not the case.
Anyway, I did a search on Google for “David Guetta Sexy Chick” and came up with about a dozen different versions of the video. I clicked on one and watched, and there’s a few things I can tell you about it. First, it’s a really bad song, with such idiotic lyrics as, “I’m tryna find the words to describe this girl without being disrespectful/Damn girl/Damn you’se a sexy chick/A sexy chick/Damn you’se a sexy chick/Damn girl.” Sheer poetry, isn’t it?
Secondly, yes, there are scantily clad women in the video, dozens of them at some pool party where the only male guests seem to be Guetta and Akon and perhaps two other dudes. One thing I failed to notice in the video, however, was a statue of Buddha.
One of the user comments, though, mentioned something about the statue being in the “Nerd Edit” version of the video, so I gave that one a look, and sure enough, there, at the far end of the pool, way in the background, was a white statue of what might be Buddha.
The statue appears on screen for a total of maybe 10 seconds, and only on a couple of occasions are there women dancing in its vicinity. I kind of believe Akon, who said, “I was not aware the statue was even on the set of the video.” To think that it would offend anyone’s religious sensibilities struck me as odd, but like I said, I’m not a Buddhist.
To me, though, the ultimate question is how would Buddha himself feel about the video? Well, he was married and had a son, so we can probably assume he was heterosexual. I can’t claim to speak for Buddha, but let’s face it, no heterosexual man would be offended by beautiful, scantily clad women dancing near him.
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