24 Aug

Nancy Ajram Banned Pride Flags from Concert in Sweden

The Lebanese singer angers the LGBTQI community

Written By MILLE team

When it comes to the Arab world’s biggest pop stars, controversy is rarely a word that comes into play. This week however, the region’s biggest—and usually unproblematic—star, Nancy Ajram, is making headlines across the world.

 

The Lebanese singer is under fire after her team demanded rainbow flags be removed from while the singer performed at Sweden’s Gothenburg palace.

 

The concert happened to coincide with EuroPride, an LGBTQ pride festival that was hosted by Stockholm Pride this year, and pulled in over 40,000 international attendees.

 

According to a report by Swedish newspaper Aftonbladet, Nancy Ajram’s team were unaware of the celebrations, and asked for all rainbow flags to be removed from the venue – citing a clause in the singer’s contract that required she maintain ‘a neutral stance’.

 

Early in her career, Nancy Ajram was championed by the LGBTQI community for being one of the first Arab singers to feature a gay character in her music videos. The character was featured in her 2004 music video for ‘Yey (Sehr 3younou)’ and was also a central character in her video for ‘Lawn Ayounak’, where he was portrayed as a close friend of Ajram (he even caught the bouquet at her wedding).

 

The Lebanese pop star never publicly addressed the sexual orientation of the character. And despite the support she’s received over the years from the region’s LGBTQI community, she’s largely remained silent in regards to her stance on the issue.

 

Both videos were actually directed by the now Cannes-winner and Oscars voting member, Nadine Labaki. The incident in Sweden begs the question of whether the seemingly LGBTQI-friendly videos were more to do with Labaki than Ajram herself as Labaki already has a proven track record when it comes to bringing awareness and offering visibility to the region’s LGBTQ community. The director broke barriers with her 2007 film Caramel, in which one of the central characters was lesbian.

 

Following the backlash Ajram received after the incident, the Lebanese singer broke her veil of silence and took to her twitter to clarify her position: