Fez - English singer Jessie J’s appearance with only underwear on the stage of Festival Mawazine caused an uproar among the Moroccan public, who followed the concert live on channel 2M from Rabat.
Fez – English singer Jessie J’s appearance with only underwear on the stage of Festival Mawazine caused an uproar among the Moroccan public, who followed the concert live on channel 2M from Rabat.
Many Moroccans have expressed deep indignation and resentment at the way the English singer showed up on the stage, stressing that the act was a mockery of the feelings of Moroccans and their conservative culture regardless of the degree of openness in Morocco.
In this regard, Nidal Chebbak from Fez, a PhD candidate specializing in Moroccan Cultural Studies and an activist in social media, wondered if this is the culture that Festival Mawazine wants to promote through its slogan “Morocco of Cultures.”
“Every artist should respect the culture and the art of the host country, whether through dress or behavior. Morocco is a conservative country and many families attend Mawazine’s concerts just to fulfill their children’s wishes. Also, the concerts are widely followed on TV by families and it’s extremely provocative and shameful to surprise these families with a concert of a singer singing with her underwear. If the concert was private and not broadcasted on national TV channels no one would object.”
Ms. Chebbak expressed her admiration of Western music but noted that the English singer did not “show any respect for the principles and culture of the country that hosts her.”
“Nobody is asking Jessy J to fully cover her body but popping up with underwear shows disrespect for Moroccan society. Had she worn even relatively short pants, the debate would have been about her music and talent rather than about objecting to the way she was dressed,” she said.
Lena Shetari expressed her shock at seeing the English singer appearing on the stage “semi-naked.” She said, “We should not blame it on her, but on the officials who permitted her to appear semi-naked on the stage,” adding that “Morocco is an Islamic country and 2M is viewed by an audience of all ages.”
Hassan Abouakil, a journalist resident in the U.S., said that the problem is not with the singer and that he “respects her culture, rather it lies in those who are stripped of their culture.”
Journalist Hind Subai Idrissi said rather than blame Jessy J, the festival administration and officials of 2M TV channel should have informed the singer that her concert would be broadcasted live and that she should wear modest clothes.
“It’s not logical to blame the singer because she wore what she usually wears,” Ms. El-Idrissi said. “The problem lies in the administration of the festival and the officials of TV broadcasting who knew very well that the image would permeate all houses. Therefore, they had to respect the traditions and culture of Moroccans. If they had told her to wear something more modest I don’t think she would have disagreed, especially since the concert was given in a public place.”
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