Some Muslims feel wronged by singer Katy Perry’s newest music video Dark Horse. The music video features a story in which many suitors attempt to woo the singer, who portrays an Egyptian queen, with jewels, food, a chariot, and more, but she appears to only be interested in their offerings, instead opting to turn each suitor into an object she desires.
The cause of outrage for some members of the Muslim community is that one of these suitors is seen wearing a pendant with the word Allah, the Muslim God, just before he is disintegrated into sand and diamonds. (See the video here: http://bit.ly/Ner10o – the event in question occurs around 1:14). Shazad Iqbal, who started a petition for the removal of the video from YouTube which has more than 60,000 signatures (http://chn.ge/1o16qbr), claims that blasphemy is conveyed in the video. He writes “Katy Perry (who appears to be representing an opposition of God) engulfs the believer and the word God in flames” and that “using the name of God in an irrelevant and distasteful manner would be considered inappropriate by any religion”.
I believe that the disintegration of a believer of the Muslim religion and the word of God was not deliberate by the singer or producers of the video, but I also agree that this is inappropriate and should be amended. However, I also feel that Iqbal has described the image more harshly than it is actually portrayed. The suitor and his pendant are not engulfed in flames, and in my opinion, Perry represents a greedy and materialistic queen instead of an opposition of God. Her purpose for disintegrating the suitor was to obtain more diamonds, not to attack him, though that was a ramification. Other than the word Allah on the necklace, no obvious signs of any religion are apparent in the video, and yet the costumes and sets in this video include many intricacies, such as modern depictions of ancient objects, like a gold sun-dial wristwatch, as well as ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs everywhere they possibly could be, from different hieroglyphs floating in the air to ankhs painted on Perry’ nails to hieroglyphs covering the lenses in Juicy J’s sunglasses in his part of the song. This gives off the impression that the inclusion of the Allah pendant was just carelessness, included solely based on its physical appearance by someone who thought it matched well with the theme of the video. Using an important religious symbol for no other reason than as a frivolous and unneeded prop piece is inconsiderate and thoughtless. Because there is no other sign or mention of any religion at any other point in the video, if the unnecessary prop is edited out, it will remove the offensive act without changing anything in the story. Therefore, editing out the pendant will end this controversy.
See the article that inspired this blog post here: http://bbc.in/1ewNvQi