American pop singer Ke$ha has been banned from performing her upcoming concert in Malaysia after the government said her lyrics and image go against the country's conservative values. The pop singer claimed via Twitter that she was even threatened with imprisonment if she chose to go through with the performance.
The country's Ministry of Communications and Multimedia said in a brief statement late last week that its decision to cancel Ke$ha's upcoming performance "touches on religious sensitivities and cultural values of Malaysians." Sixty percent of Malaysia's 28 million-person population is Muslim, while only nine percent is Christian. Ke$ha's lyrics often make reference to partying, binge drinking, and a sexually promiscuous lifestyle, all topics that are taboo under strict Islamic culture.
The 26-year-old pop artist, whose real name is Kesha Rose Sebert, took to Twitter to defend herself in light of the news. "To be clear. I did NOT cancel. I was not allowed to play. [sic] and then I was going to play anyways and was threatened with imprisonment," she wrote.
Livescape Asia, the promoters for the Malaysian concert venue where Ke$ha was supposed to play, also released a statement saying they attempted to comply with the requests of the government by altering the pop artist's wardrobe and lyrics, but ultimately the Ministry of Communications and Multimedia decided to decline their request for the concert. They added that canceling the show will cost them $350,000, and they hope in the future the authorities will "engage in a productive dialogue with local promoters to avoid the current situation from repeating."
The promotion company said they worked with the pop artist to "modify the show to suit the Malaysian culture and sensitivities, including having made adjustments to her song lyrics, wardrobe changes, and a set list that was modified to specifically adhere to the guidelines set forth by the authorities."
Malaysia has previously canceled the performances of Erykah Badu, an R&B artist, and Beyonce, arguing that the lyrics and images of both artists do not coincide with Malaysia's cultural values.