[Source] JUSTIN Timberlake boasted about 'bringing sexy back' in his recent hit, but he shouldn't try that in Malaysia.
Some of the world's top pop stars are holding concerts in Muslim-majority Malaysia this year, but they are facing growing pressure to keep skimpy outfits and steamy dance moves off the stage.
Event organisers said yesterday that conservative Islamic critics have protested against some acts because they believe liberal Western performances can corrupt youths.
Gwen Stefani made what she called 'a major sacrifice' by donning clothes that revealed little skin at a Kuala Lumpur performance on Tuesday, after Muslim students and political activists called for her concert to be scrapped because of her sexy reputation.
Instead of her usual skimpy wardrobe, Stefani covered her tight-fitting tops in jackets and sported leotards under her dresses and mini-skirts during her two-hour concert.`
She said: 'I've been in the music industry for 20 years and this is the first time that I'm facing opposition from people who have misunderstood me.'
Promoters have announced that R&B superstar Beyonce, who is known for her sultry image, is scheduled to perform on 1Nov with outfits that are more conservative than what she is used to.
'We've informed Beyonce's management about this issue of clothes, but it takes some of the fun out of it,' said MrRazlan Ahmad Razali, chairman of Pineapple Concerts, which is organising Beyonce's planned concert.
'Beyonce won't be able to do the kind of show here that she does elsewhere,' Mr Razlan told The Associated Press.
'She's a fashion icon, and we know that she often wears mini-skirts and clothes that expose her navel during her performances.
'It's a pity to restrict her because her costumes are all tasteful and glamorous.'
Concert organisers are taking extra pains to ensure that performers cover up because of the uproar caused by a Pussycat Dolls concert last year.
The five-member US girl group performed in Kuala Lumpur last August wearing revealing outfits and doing raunchy dance routines.
The organisers for that concert were fined RM10,000 ($4,400) after the group was accused of flouting decency laws.
Malaysia's guidelines for public performances require a female artiste to cover up from the top of her chest to her knees, including her shoulders.
Performers may not hug or kiss, and their clothes must not have obscene or drug-related images or messages.
Grammy-winning hip-hop star Kanye West was also made to follow these rules when he performed in Kuala Lumpur in April.
The outspoken rapper had to omit one of his biggest hits, Jesus Walks, due to sensitivities surrounding the title of the song, said Mr Razlan.
Such concerns have made Malaysia less appealing to some stars.
A concert promoter, speaking on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the issue, said the hassle about clothes was one of the reasons that sultry US pop diva Christina Aguilera skipped Malaysia.
Her recent Asian tour included Singapore, Thailand and the Philippines.
That's why promoters are hoping that successful concerts by Stefani and Beyonce will help lure other big acts to the country during Visit Malaysia Year 2007.
The opposition Pan-Malaysian Islamic Party, which accused Stefani of promoting promiscuity and corrupting youth, says it will probably protest further if Beyonce, Timberlake or Kylie Minogue perform here.
'Even with Gwen Stefani, we're not satisfied just because she covered up at the concert,' said party official Kamarulzaman Mohamed.
'Outside, she still wears sexy clothes and influences teenagers who idolise her. It's bad to have immoral artists visiting Malaysia.'
Now come on, immoral artist? It's solely their personal perceptions. If them coming here induces bad habits-slash-impacts, it can only be blamed at our education level and self morality and senses for acting the way which might be against the religion, humanity or the legislations. I think the nonsensical protests should be put to rest when these artists even have the initiative of stopping by. Ugh.
And if, abiding to the traditions and customs, will those people actually come up with costumes like these for concerts? Definitely inappropriate (although the cheong sam looks half great), if to be performed with up-tempo hits like Crazy In Love and Deja Vu.