Malaysia has some very strict decency laws, causing the nation’s government to cancel a planned Erykah Badu concert after an ad promoting the event featured a publicity photo of the star showing off a temporary tattoo that read “Allah” in Arabic.
Claiming that the display of religious body art was offensive to its Muslim-heavy population, Badu’s show was quickly banned.
Badu seems to have taken the banning the day before she was set to perform pretty well, and expressed at a news conference in Kuala Lumpur that she was “sad” but “understanding” of the government’s decision.
“It’s sad, because we traveled a long way,” she said. “But I’m totally understanding of [the minister’s] protection of the laws and its people. He doesn’t want anything to happen. I’m good with that.”
Malaysia’s Information Minister Rais Yatim had previously stated that the tattoo, which was painted on her shoulder, was “an insult to Islam and a very serious offense.”
Badu explained, “I think art is often misunderstood in the realm of religion, and it’s OK,” she explained. “In America, it’s a lot different. Art is also misunderstood but it is not such a harsh gesture to promote the names of God. I am learning and understanding about Islam in other countries more as we travel.”
Badu said she would “absolutely” be willing to perform in the country in the future.