More than 1 500 people had bought tickets to watch the Grammy-winning singer in Kuala Lumpur auditorium, but MalaysiaÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s information minister announced on the eve of the concert that it could not proceed because a promotional photo of Badu with the Arabic word for Allah painted on her bare shoulders was “an insult to Islam.”
“ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s sad, because we traveled a long way,” Badu told a news conference. “But IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m totally understanding of (the ministerÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s) protection of the laws and its people. He doesnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t want anything to happen. IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m good with that.”
The photograph ignited criticism from some politicians and religious groups in Muslim-majority Malaysia after a newspaper published it Monday in a feature to promote BaduÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s show. The daily has since apologised for what it called an “oversight” that led to the photoÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s publication.
Badu, 41, said the photo was inspired by images from “The Holy Mountain,” a 1973 surrealist movie by Chilean-French filmmaker Alejandro Jodorowsky.
“I think art is often misunderstood in the realm of religion, and itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s OK,” she said. “In America, itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s a lot different. I am learning and understanding about Islam in other countries more as we travel.”
Information Minister Rais Yatim said MalaysiaÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Cabinet endorsed the ban Wednesday.Ã¢â‚¬â€AP