Katy Perry’s ‘Dark Horse’ music video leads to religious controversy

Laurel Delany, ‘Doah Staff Writer
March 19, 2014

'Doah photo courtesy of billboard.com

‘Doah photo courtesy of billboard.com

Katy Perry is at the center of another controversy after the release of her “Dark Horse” music video. In her video, she plays an Egyptian queen who is being approached by many potential suitors. The controversy of this video actually lies very early on in the video. The first suitor in the “Dark Horse” music video is seen wearing a pendant with Allah, the Arabic word for God, engraved on it. Perry turns this suitor down and turns him into a pile of ash with her magic, burning both the man and the pendant.

After the video was released on YouTube, many people petitioned YouTube to take it down.

In fact over 60,000 people signed a petition on Change.org lobbying to remove the video from YouTube. The makers of the petition argued that, “This is the reason for lodging the petition so that people from different walks of life, different religions and from different parts of the world, agree that the video promotes blasphemy, using the name of God in an irrelevant and distasteful manner would be considered inappropriate by any religion.”

This caught the attention of the makers of the “Dark Horse” video and they ultimately edited the pendant out of the video and reposted it to YouTube.  The version of “Dark Horse” now on YouTube was switched out to a new version without the anti-Islamic sentiments.

Defenders of Perry pointed out that every suitor in the video was getting melted, not just the Muslim man, but a critic of the video later challenged this point. “The fact that Islam didn’t even exist in ancient Egypt is what really confuses me as to why they felt the need to have anything to do with Islam in this video,” wrote Danyal Johnson from the U.K. “Obviously it is symbolic of the anti-Islamic message being portrayed.”

Some critics even called Perry out on hypocrisy. Perry, a well-known Christian, was offended by another pop star’s controversial use of religion in a music video. In 2010, when Lady Gaga released her video for “Alejandro”, a video that was covered in Christian religious imagery, Perry tweeted, “Using blasphemy as entertainment is as cheap as a comedian telling a fart joke.” So burning a holy item for Muslim people is fine, but using Christian imagery is “blasphemy” and “cheap.”

Perry is no stranger to allegations of racially and culturally insensitive behavior. One only has to look at her performance at the American Music Awards where she dressed as a traditionally Japanese Geisha, and was accused of sexualizing the culture and promoting Japanese stereotypes

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