Zen: Dancing Around the Issues
By L. Paul
From: Trinidad and Tobago News Blog
April 24, 2007
How quickly people forget the original views about the incident at Zen. People had blamed Akon for the entire situation and were making very racist remarks about him saying that he should return to the jungle in Senegal or Africa and many other nasty comments. They also suggested that he had "molested" a fourteen year old girl on stage which was another attempt to demonize Akon. I think that the author was right that racism and colourism had a lot to do with those demeaning comments and attitudes towards the Hip/hop artiste. The original article on this site was the first to put the record straight about that and had postulated other sensible views about the Danah/Akon affair.
I think that it is the general view in Trinidad and Tobago now, that Akon cannot be held responsible for dancing in a sexual manner with a legally deemed minor when there was no way that he could have known that Danah was under the legal age to enter the club. The owner of club Zen, Johnny Soong, would have to assume full responsibility for allowing some underage people admittance into his club. It is not the first time that people underage have been allowed in his club and colourism and race have a lot to do with this. Once these girls fit the 'look': usually slim, light-skinned, White or mixed race, they are allowed in, even without ID's.
That being said, and notwithstanding the whole legal argument (which I believe is ludicrous and contradictory) I do not believe that there is anything wrong with a male or female her age dancing the way she did. Also, people have to be really naive to believe that she was the first youth to dance in the manner that she did. Many youths in school parties, house parties, clubs and other places dance just as 'suggestively'. These types of suggestive dances, as several posters pointed out are evident, especially during Carnival with youths even younger than she is. So should 'wining' and other similar dances be banned? Should there be an age limit to 'wining'? Or should there be a kind of 'wining' that is acceptable and another outlawed? The answer to all three questions is "no". People need to grow up learn about sex and their own bodies.
I understand the position that some Christians and other religions would take on this issue although I personally know many who don't have a problem with it or at least do not practice what they preach. That hypocrisy has to be dealt with by them or if they disagree with that aspect of their religion, they should address that.
I read Heru's post and it inspired me to look up the laws of Trinidad and Tobago. I agree with the point that if a child can be married (Muslim religion) and have sex at the age of 12, then that throws away the argument that Danah, two to three years older than the legal age for Muslims to get married, is too immature to simulate sexual behavior.
People criticize Danah, not only for her dancing at Zen but for other pictures of her online. Although these pictures dispel the notion that she is 'innocent', they were not in the realm of pornography and is what many teenagers her age do: pose in front of the mirror or camera mimicking what they see on television or elsewhere, what they believe to be sexy. There is nothing wrong with that at all.
Who is to say that the law is correct as it relates to sex and sexual suggestiveness. From my reading of it, there are way too many ambiguities there. Also, what is morally wrong with teenagers experimenting with sex? Sex is a natural part of our existence and many teenagers are sexually mature and do have sex or engage in other types of bonding with their peers. I believe that people are too dishonest when it comes to sex and many of them forget the feelings and urges that they had had during their teenage years.
People should also understand that although her father is a pastor and has views of his own, she may still be formulating her own views and may downright disagree with him on many issues. Which ever way she chooses, this does not mean that she is a bad person or that she should be criticized or judged just because of the occupation of her father.
Although people may object to Danah's behaviour because of their own religious persuasions or their choice of lifestyles, they are yet to make a plausible argument of Danah's conduct being wrong. Danah's actions do reflect some delinquency but her suggestive dancing was not wrong.
Danah's Conduct at Zen: What's the Big Deal? by Heru
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