Puerto Rican artistes Luis Fonsi and Daddy Yankee may still be conquering the charts with their 2017 Spanish hit song, “Despacito”, but one Malaysian women’s force is asking for radio stations to stop playing it.
Angkatan Wanita Amanah Nasional (AWAN) released an official statement on their Facebook page urging Malaysian radio stations to pull the song because of its “sexually explicit” lyrics.
For those of you who are unaware, “Despacito”, which means “slowly”, is a reggaeton-pop song composed with lyrics about having a sexual relationship, performed in a smooth and romantic way. A brief translation of its lyrics goes:
I wanna breathe your neck slowly
Let me whisper things into your ear
So that you remember if you’re not with me
I wanna strip you off with kisses slowly
Sign the walls of your laberinth
And make your whole body a manuscript
Turn it up”
In the statement, titled, “HENTIKAN SEGERA PENYIARAN LAGU LUCAH DESPACITO” (translations: “STOP BROADCASTING THE OBSCENE DESPACITO SONG IMMEDIATELY”), AWAN Arts and Culture chairperson Atriza Umar expressed her concern over the young children who were singing the song without actually understanding the Spanish lyrics.
“However, as a representative the Angkatan Wanita Amanah Nasional (AWAN), I’m calling for the song and other songs containing vulgar, violent, etc. that are not in accordance with Eastern and Muslim cultures to be stopped from being played immediately. It also worries me that such troubled songs have not been censored by the responsible ministry,” Atriza Umar wrote.
“The Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) needs to play a role in the urgency of such issues that can spoil the morale and entertainment of society in this country,” she added.
“Despacito”, which features the vocals of Justin Bieber, topped the charts of 45 countries and reached the top 10 of 9 others, making it both Luis Fonsi and Daddy Yankee’s most successful single to date. It became the first song primarily in Spanish to top the Billboard Hot 100 since “Macarena” (Bayside Boys Mix) in 1996.
The official video for “Despacito”, which features Miss Universe 2008 Zuleyka Rivera of Puerto Rico, received its two billionth view on 16th June after 154 days, making it the fastest video on the site to reach the milestone.
With its 3.3 million certified sales plus track-equivalent streams, “Despacito” is one of the best-selling Latin singles in the United States.
UPDATE (19th July 2017, 9:43pm):
The Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) has banned “Despacito” from the government-owned Radio Televisyen Malaysia (RTM) TV and radio channels with immediate effect after a public complaint was review by RTM’s panel.
FMT quoted minister Salleh Said Keruak as saying, “RTM has stopped the song on all RTM radio stations and over RTM TV with immediate effect,” adding that RTM’s panel has decided to withdraw the approval of the song.
Salleh went on to explain, “Radio airwaves are but one of the many channels through which the public, especially the younger generation, hear those songs. As such, we ask the radio stations to be sensitive to local norms and apply self-censorship of the song, be it by stopping the airplay or audio deleting part of the song.”
However, Salleh is aware that the song can still be accessed through other means i.e. online.
Will other radio stations in Malaysia follow suit? Your guess is as good as ours.