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Danah/Akon Dance Exposes Racism, Irresponsible Journalism

By A. A. Hotep
May 09, 2007

Once it was determined that the case was closed on the Akon/Danah incident, TV6 changed its tone on the issue. In fact, the 7pm TV6 report on Monday 7th May, 2007, called the dance simply a "sexy dance" which is a far cry from their earlier reports which described the dance as "lewd", "dirty" and "sexually explicit". This type of irresponsible journalism has translated into other foreign media jumping on the bandwagon: "Verizon ends tie with 'rape rapper'", "Akon Axed by Verizon Over Simulated Rape" and other such reports.

This goes to show that much of the local media cannot be trusted to present the truth. The tendencies of these media to sensationalize and distort stories makes them untrustworthy and complicit in deliberately feeding bogus stories to the public.

The foreign media, having bought the Trinidad Express reports, have gone down the road of continuing to demonize Akon, accusing him of "rape". and presented alternative information to explain how this issue may have attracted widespread local and international attention. In fact, from the onset, and were dispelling the nonsense of the immorality/ illegality of the dance as this type of dancing is common during Carnival and in other fetes in Trinidad and Tobago. These websites presented some facts for people to consider: the fact that many are uncomfortable with sexuality; the issue of colourism/racism that was clear in the thrashing of Akon; ageism; and the ambiguity of the laws of the land.

Some US media and White activists seemed to have been motivated by revenge for the position some Black activists took in calling for sponsors to distance themselves from Don Imus following his "'nappy-headed hos" comments. In retaliation, they were lobbying for sponsors to distance themselves from Akon over this incident.

They were not interested in the culture and people of Trinidad and Tobago and could care less about what happens down here. They were quite eager to lap up the sensationalized reports from the Trinidad Express which did not reflect the law of the land and even the views of the majority on this issue. They felt they had a Rap artiste to exact their revenge on and they went after him.

Prime Minister Patrick Manning's 'disgust' about looking at a tape of the Akon/Danah dancing was more of an attempt to appease his Pentecostal supporters, some of whom were busy protesting the appearance of Elton John at the Tobago Jazz Festival because of his sexuality. It was reported that Mr. Patrick Manning was present for Sean Paul's "dutty wine" performance at the Tobago Jazz Festival and he made no comments about it, which exposes his hypocrisy.

If the police dropped the case, it was only because they could not find evidence that Akon engaged in sex or attempted to engage in sex with the fifteen year old Danah following their performance. If all the police had to go by is the same tape of Danah's and Akon's performance that is available online, then they certainly did not feel this was sufficient to warrant any charges. Ergo, Akon did not break any law.

The lone videoclip that was shown around the world was taken out of context of a much larger picture. Initially, Danah was the aggressor after winning two raunchy dancing competitions to get her dancing 'trip' with Akon on stage at Club Zen.

When the videoclip was posted online some people were stunned by what appeared to be a petit, light-skinned female being wildly handled by Akon on stage. Many initially saw her as the victim of an aggressive African male who took advantage of her, until other photos of her performance were made available online. Only then, some of the racist comments gave way to a better evaluation of the circumstances of the performance.

The police could have charged the owner of the Zen nightclub for admitting Danah while she was underage. It appears that the police are also dropping this matter. They are letting the Zen nightclub off the hook for breaking the law.

As these websites have previously pointed out, Akon did not abuse Danah and did not break any law even while dancing in the manner he did with Danah. The police certainly were not convinced by the tape and photos that a crime was committed, hence they dropped the case.

I hope Akon learns a lesson or two from this experience. He is an African/ African-American and that carries additional stereotypes in relation to many people's poor perception of African primitiveness. He seemed to have been unconscious of the possible reaction of Whites who are seeking revenge on African Rap artists following the Don Imus affair. He also would not have been aware of how unaddressed racism and colorism would have initially fueled responses to the infamous videoclip.

I think the owner of Zen owes Akon an apology. The media that sensationalized the matter also owes him an apology. However, I do not expect any of them to accept responsibility for their conduct.

I hope Akon reads some of the articles on these websites about this and other related matters so that he would not be the unwitting victim of unaddressed social issues in the future.

Below is a video clip of 'Hot Wok dancing' in Trinidad and no one gets arrested for it:

Dutty Wine in Trinidad and Tobago

Also Read:

Akon Did Not Abuse Girl At Zen - April 22, 2007

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