United Arab Emirates: American hit song banned

20 August 2008
An American hit song receiving airplay in the United Arab Emirates provokes controversy and has been banned from radio stations in Dubai for containing lyrics that “depict sexuality, lesbianism and promiscuity”, reported the daily newspaper Gulf News

In 2007, American singer Katy Perry’s debut single, ‘UR So Gay’, generated some online buzz with its socalled ‘mischievous lyrics’, and her audience grew accordingly. In 2008 her debut album, ‘One of the Boys’, was released, and her current single ‘I Kissed a Girl’ has put the 24-year-old singer on the international stage by topping the USA, United Kingdom, Canada and Australia charts while so far reaching Number 4 on the WorldWide Charts. The music video for the song has been viewed more than six million times on

In the United Arab Emirates, however, the girl-kiss song was reported to have been blacklisted by some radio stations because of its lyrics that go,

    • “I kissed a girl and I liked it
    • the taste of her cherry chap stick
    • I kissed a girl just to try it
    hope my boyfriend don’t mind it”

The Emirati sociologist Dr Mouza Ghubash expressed her concern at the song’s arrival in the United Arab Emirates, saying it formed part of a wider problem facing youth culture in the Arab world.

She told Gulf News: “This song reflects the kind of relationship and behaviour that is common in Western societies and that can also be found as a new phenomenon in Arab culture. Of course, we refute such ideas and songs but at the same time we cannot avoid them. We must ensure our youngsters concentrate on their education — with the help of their families, teachers and lecturers, to protect them from imitating other Western cultures. United Arab Emirates society is so open these days and great pressure is placed on the country’s decision-makers, such as the Ministry of Education, to preserve our national identity.”

Deemed offensive
Fiona Winterburn, head of music at Gulf News Broadcasting, was quoted by Gulf News as saying:

“We’ve listened to the song but have so far decided against playing it because we realise the lyrics are quite sensitive to local culture and could offend some of our listeners.”

Abdullah Julfar, an undergraduate student of United Arab Emirates nationality, told Gulf News he found the song very offensive towards his cultural and religious values:

“I think there should be some sort of social responsibility in the media to stop such ridiculous songs from being played,” he said.

On a webpage of Arabian, Alaa Banna from Jordan commented:
“I haven’t heard this song yet, but thanks for the censors, I will download the song and promote for it myself.”

Amira from Dubai commented:
“I believe this song does contravene the Islamic culture and radio and tv stations should be more sensitive. I heard this song last night on the radio and it occurred to me it was very controversial and wondered why they were playing it.”

Child of two pastors
The British paper Daily Record reported that the singer’s mother, Mary Hudson, an evangelical Christian preacher, is ‘deeply ashamed’ of her daughter and says, “I hate the song. It clearly promotes homosexuality and its message is shameful and disgusting.”

Katy Perry (real name: Katy Hudson) insists her parents are supportive of her career — despite reports they do not approve of her lyrics. She says, “I’m sure they opt out of singing ‘I Kiss a Girl’ or ‘Ur So Gay’, but they’re singing along to every other song.”

Born in 1984 in Santa Barbara, California, the middle child of two deeply traditional pastors, Katy Perry told that when she was a child she wasn’t allowed to listen to any kind of non-religious music, and Madonna videos were definitely a no-no. “MTV and VH1 were permanently blocked on our television,” Katy Perry said.




Katy Perry

The single cover for ‘I Kissed a Girl’


Music video


Google News – continously updated:

Search: ‘Katy Perry’ + ‘banned’

Arabian Business – 19 August 2008:

‘UK No. 1 single banned for racy lyrics’

Gulf News – 18 August 2008:

‘Katy Perry single smacks of controversy in UAE’

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