As detailed by the New York Times, Saudi Arabia recently began allowing public music performances within its boundaries. In June 2017, Prince Mohammad bin Salman assumed the Crown Prince title and has been making some moves to change the historically conservative country. He recently made public music performances legal, including a 2017 performance by Yanni. More recently, famous Egyptian singer Tamer Hosny was allowed to perform in the country. This is significant because Hosny, while not explicit by Western standards, has some songs with sexual innuendo. Before the concert took place, concertgoers were issued warnings including "no dancing or swaying" and were ordered to wear modest outfits. Attendees were also segregated by gender. Interestingly, as the NY times points out, going off of Twitter reactions, residents of the country alternatively applauded the country for loosening its stance on the arts and criticized it for the "no dancing rule." Meanwhile, other residents criticized the government for allowing such a performance to take place. One gentleman wrote "I spit on Tamer Hosny and I spit on those who have given him the go-ahead." If this trend continues, we will let you know.
by John Gentile