Akon Did Not Abuse Girl At Zen


Danah Alleyne before “action” with Akon


April 22, 2007

EDITOR’S NOTE: This article is a response to the many racist comments about the Akon/Danah video clip, especially those that were initially posted on YouTube, among other websites. The two clips that were initially posted on YouTube were removed together with hundreds of racist comments.

Much of the discussion surrounding the Hip-hop/R&B singer Akon’s performance at club Zen on Thursday 12th April, 2007, is really based on racism, unreasoned sexual hang-ups and hypocrisy. The reactions of many who have been buzzing on the radio and the internet are clearly based on their racist and colourist views that paint Akon as a black animal who assaulted a minor and the female as a young, misguided innocent, who was taken advantage of. This is really quite ridiculous. Harsh reactions have also been fuelled by the fact that many knew she was a preacher’s daughter and she was acting contrary to what her father preaches.

Akon and Danah on stage at Zen
Akon and Danah on stage at Zen

Akon is a performer whose act is well known and has been widely publicized on the internet and other entertainment media. His song “Smack That” leaves little to the imagination as to its theme and as part of the performance for that song, he dances, appearing to simulate sex with willing female participants, who voluntarily come onstage to be a part of this act. Fans of his certainly could have been aware of the act as there were videos of similar performances easily available on the internet and on some television shows.

Several females took the stage at Zen that night to be a part of this ‘wining competition’ where it was stated that the winner would win a trip to Africa. Certainly, Zen played up the idea that Akon is from Senegal by having people in African attire doing African drumming at the entrance of the venue and by starting the show with a similar African theme. It is then not surprising that Akon would be tongue-in-cheek and set himself up as the embodiment of Africa and be the ‘prize’ for a young lady who won the competition. They were quite okay with receiving the attention from the crowd, the media and the artiste that would come with that. No one was forced. Furthermore, anyone who has been to a concert, party or event that features a ‘wining competition’ where girls are invited to wine either for the audience or with the male star, should be well aware of what awaits them – a hyper-sexual performance that glorifies the sexuality of the star and can end up being totally humiliating for the female. In light of this it is hard to really say the girl was totally unaware.

Akon and Danah on stage at Zen
Akon and Danah on stage at Zen

The extent of the racism that has pervaded this discussion internationally cannot go unaddressed. The idea of Africans being sexually potent, virile and uncontrollable is one that is part of a whole set of racist assumptions that have been bandied about for centuries about Africans. Some Africans in the Diaspora have inherited these ideas about continental Africans to the point that there is now a distinction, where continental Africans are seen as more ‘undiluted’, more potent and animalistic. Many on internet forums have commented on this issue in very racist ways about African sexual proclivities as a way to condemn the way he danced with the female. The discussion has taken a turn to sound like a replica of plantation and colonial attitudes where the constant fear by the White male population was the violation of their White women by sexually potent and deviant African males. There is a long history of this ‘fear’ that can be traced throughout history and has certainly been expressed up to this day by East Indian groups and spokespersons in Trinidad who claimed at one time that African men were targeting Indian women for rape. These ideas have influenced the way many people have viewed this incident.

In addition, for many, the light-skinned look of the girl defied their own ideas of ‘the kind of girls that do that’, i.e. blacker, poorer ones, and to see their racist ideas of a black, sex-crazed stud brought to life in their vision of Akon was just too much to take. People are often fine with seeing Black females dancing and doing all sorts of things that they may find lewd and inappropriate, as they find it quite normal for them to do so. They, however, find it shocking that a light-skinned one would dance in ways that they deem lewd and furthermore with an African male. This speaks directly to their own racism and colourism and very little about the act itself or about Akon. It suits them to see the light-skinned young female as innocent and blameless and the African hip-hop singer as guilty and licentious regardless of the truth of the matter. Much of the discussion that has been going on the internet is full of such racist sentiments.

Akon and Danah on stage at Zen
Akon and Danah on stage at Zen

The truth is, the female willingly came to a club, dressed in a way that is typical of older females who are used to the club scene, was allowed in, despite what Zen says are its rigid age checks, and willingly volunteered herself to dance on the stage in a competition for a prize and then with a male artiste. Regardless of whether she could have anticipated the kind of dancing that would have ensued, every step leading up to it was as a result of her own choices. The young lady in question was interviewed by TV6 news last night and in her own words she explained how she got carried away and was embarrassed to see herself afterward as the event was over so quickly that she did not realize that was what had happened or how it would have looked. Nowhere did she blame the artist or say she was abused. Nowhere did she chastise him for the way he danced with her and nowhere did she indicate that she was innocent in the affair. She clearly stated that she went to these clubs against her parent’s advice and that while at the time she did not see any big deal in the dance, when the clips hit the internet and she saw it, she then felt embarrassed and ashamed of the hurt she caused her parents and herself. This seemed to me like an honest recognition by an obviously young teenager, now stripped of her revealing outfit, makeup and fingernails, of an impulsive action that resulted in embarrassment for herself and others only after the fact.

The media, however, does seem to be attempting to distort what was said by the teenager or at the very least carrying contradictory reports. In the Guardian story carried today, the headline reads “I Was Cajoled Into Sexy Dance” which is a direct, deliberate distortion attempting to leave the casual reader with the impression that the teen was cajoled into dancing by the artiste Akon. The article continues:

My parents had no clue I was going to the concert or how I was dressed. I told them I was going with my cousins for ice cream. When I left the house I had on a jacket.

This contradicts what was said in the Newsday article, which states:

Danah said two days before the concert, a friend sponsored her a $450 VIP ticket. She said her parents, who were not present at the interview, knew she was going.

Newsday’s article also states:

Danah, daughter of Pastor Dave Alleyne, of the Flaming Word Ministry in Chaguanas, described her ordeal as shocking and humiliating. She insists she and other girls were deceived into entering a dance competition in which the first place winner would receive a trip to Africa.

While in what seems to be a different attitude, the TV6 interview with the girl herself gives the impression that at the time she did not think it was a big deal but it was only afterward when she saw it that she felt embarrassed.

Now I am sure the girl did feel embarrassed after seeing the video and after some members of the public began condemning her dancing, but it is a bit misleading to give the impression that she did not approve of the dancing while she was doing it. It seems to be a fair assessment that she was carried away in the moment, as she said, and did not think of the consequences. This is quite normal for many young people and many older people and in this case is not even a matter of condemnation and censure.

Akon and Danah on stage at Zen
Akon and Danah on stage at Zen

People who have been commenting on this story have been claiming that the dancing was disgusting, lewd and even abusive to the female. Certainly people can claim to be disgusted by certain behavior; that is their right. People tend to express their disgust for many things; sexual expression is one that certainly raises much commentary. However that really is a matter of personal choice for people to decide what is appropriate for them. People are often quite dishonest and find that many things should be banned, including open truthful discussions about racism, colourism and African history, so it is not really smart to buy too many of their arguments about what is appropriate and what is not. The discussion however, becomes distorted because many comments on this matter have certainly been coming from people who don’t support these kind of expressions anyway: from Carnival to Dancehall Passa Passa to even the bare-breasted dancing of a well-respected South African dance troupe that performed in Trinidad a few years ago. Many people who comment on appropriateness of dancing at these kind of events do not even attend such events, concerts, parties or performances, and like many of those who have commented unfairly on the Akon concert, they have no real legitimate way of judging whether this is normal, whether many females do volunteer to go on stage for these wining competitions or not. They are quite content to blame Akon; an artist who was doing the job that he was paid to do by the nightclub, who should certainly have been aware of his act.

Now, ones could certainly object to what they may see as a particular performance style that is quite common in Hip-hop, Soca, Dancehall as well as some Rock acts and other musical forms; the idea that sex and sexuality must be dealt with in a context of domination, humiliation and the perpetuation of the illusion of dominant über-masculine sexuality. All are participants in that – the males that embrace those attitudes and the females who buy into it and allow themselves to be part of it. This was seen particularly at the end of the dance where Akon ran off and left the young lady on the ground where they had been dancing previously. However up to this point, if ones look at all the pictures from this event, it becomes clear that at the time of the act, the young lady in question did not appear to be distressed or trying to get away. She appeared to be enjoying herself, as did the other females who volunteered to enter this competition. That is their right. Certainly this is an area that can be discussed and reasoned. There are certainly reasons why some may see sexuality in this way and why it is commercially viable for music industry executives to sell this image. However, even in that discussion one has to see that once participants are willing and no one is hurt in these encounters it still remains a matter of taste and personal preference. Once all parties are willing then one cannot talk of anyone being taken advantage of or abused in that context.

Akon and Danah on stage at Zen
Akon and Danah on stage at Zen

One thing that is crystal clear however, is the role of the nightclub, Zen, in the whole affair. It is illegal for nightclubs to admit people under 18 years of age. While Johnny Soong has stated that Zen adheres to a strict age policy where they ask for ID from patrons, the comments of the teenager do not show this at all. In the Express article she says:

“I know a lot of my friends who were my age and were there,” she said.

“They asked for ID in VIP because you have to be 21 years and over to go up in VIP, but anyone was allowed to go in the general admission area.”

In the Guardian article it states:

When they got to the club last week Thursday, she said, they proceeded to the VIP section but were stopped by the bouncers who said they had to be 21 years and over to enter, and asked for their identification cards.

Danah said, “We did not have it so they told us we had to go into general admission and we did.”

While Johnny Soong, owner of the nightclub states that this young lady may have “slipped through the cracks” many who do attend this club and many others can state clearly that many underage females especially are allowed into the nightclub. As a matter of fact, this nightclub in particular seems to be more concerned with admitting, light-skinned and brown-skinned females with a particular look, body shape and dress than about the age of the females. The club has come under fire many times for what some patrons have seen as racist and colour-biased practices in their admission policies. In light of this, it is not hard to see how this female could have been admitted despite the fact that she clearly stated that she did not have ID and was admitted anyway. It is in fact, the same colour bias that many people have displayed in commenting on this issue that led to the underage female being in the club in the first place. I suppose we can wait to see what action, if any, will be taken against the Zen nightclub for clearly breaking the law.

At the end of the day, the discussion of this issue has been riddled with distortions, which have made it difficult for some to see the issues clearly. Akon has been vilified because of his race, black skin and clearly stated Senegalese roots, as a sex-crazed fiend that took advantage of a young girl and cajoled her into committing lewd acts. The girl has been seen as innocent because of her age, her colour and her look that for some may not fit their idea of a ‘dancehall queen’, regardless of her own statements where she admitted her culpability and stated unequivocally that she got carried away and went voluntarily and now sees it as a mistake. In addition, as I previously stated, some commentary has been from the perspective of those who find that she was acting out of character as the daughter of a preacher. Some commentary has also been from the perspective of those who find that any sexual dancing is lewd anyway and should be frowned upon. While the dancing might not have been to the taste of some, that is really their affair and until people deal with their own sexual hang-ups they really cannot effectively judge another’s sexual expression. Issues of racism, colourism and sexuality rear their heads all the time in a variety of discussions because these issues are so fundamental and have remained unreasoned in the public space for too long.

Let us not continue to be hypocrites and see this issue for what it is.

Some images were reproduced from:

NEWS UPDATE: May 07, 2007

Police investigators have closed the books on investigations into the Danah Alleyne/Akon raunchy dancing incident at Zen nightclub.

According to Deputy Commissioner of Police Winston Cooper, the investigations have reached a stalemate as witnesses aren’t coming forward to support the police.

It’s been three weeks since police officers launched an investigation into the lewd dancing incident involving the fifteen year old pastor’s daughter, Danah Alleyne, and the hip-hop singer, Akon at Zen nightclub. A video clip of the act was posted on the internet and this sparked a national debate about such conduct and who is to blame.

UPDATE: June 13, 2007

Akon’s I’m Sorry Song
Akon apologized to his fans, the young girl, and Gwen Stefani today for his involvement in the onstage underage girl-humping incident that rocked across the net earlier this month.


UPDATE: July 12, 2007

Danah Alleyne to accept youth award
Danah Alleyne will accept the Youth Motivator Award and $1,000 in prize money from Choc’late Allen at her “100% Crime Free” Committee Youth Awards Ceremony to be held next Tuesday, despite a public outcry on the decision, even from Alleyne’s own brother, Ian.

Trinidad and Tobago News Blog’s URL for this article:

182 thoughts on “Akon Did Not Abuse Girl At Zen”

  1. it is not akons fault that that happened to her .it is her own fault .what d hell she doin in zen at 13 years she should have known better .and first to begin with u sneek out to go somwere and gone on stage with it 2 .u must espect it to be on the news or somting is akon and he was in trinidad.i love akon he is a very good singer and has a very nice voice.

  2. Every one needs to take blame on this one especially after Akon’s latest hit Sorry. I looked at the clip and I saw enjoyment, encouragement, fatigue and last but not leat “Did I do that?” Danah was underaged she had no right in there in the ifrst place. Her parents need to keep a more watchful eye on their daughter. She should not have gotten out of the house looking like that whether or not she was covered when she left. I have two boys but i know what’s in their closet when it comes to clothes, I play old fashioned and know all their friends that they associate with. They are allowed some measure of privacy but in this day and age I would rather embarrass them than bury them or bail them out of the station. As for girl children I would rather embarrass them rather than sit with them and go through an examination after rape with them. Everyone looks up to Akon he has to also know how to conduct himself after all he has alot of female fans. He should think of and treat women as he would treat his own mother or sister WITH RESPECT.

  3. Danah accepts award…
    Choc’late laments double standar

    During her acceptance speech, Danah, 15, said she initially intended to decline the award as “it would resurface a heaping of Danah-bashing from an insensitive public.”
    She said, “I believe accepting this award can send a message, that despite the dumb things we do we can turn around.”
    Danah later reasoned that to decline the award “would have shown cowardice.”
    “Choc’late explained this award to me and (the purpose of the award) was that she sees a strength in me, how me and my family handled the entire situation,” Danah said during an interview.
    Referring to her explicit dancing with Akon, Danah accepted the award “on behalf of all those who have done things they regret.”

    Choc’late weeps over sponsor pullout
    Allen’s tears came as she said many sponsors for the ceremony, which should have been a “grand occasion” to pay recognition to six youth motivators, had “pulled out” due to what she called “false reports in the media”.

  4. 18 n up n why would her parents let her leave the house in such revealing clothing………….exactly it doesnt add up so she or her parents have no reason to press charges ! Plus she knew what she was doin her fast ass did not need 2 go on dat stage dat was her choice! AKON is totally innocent in everyway n like i said before y is a 14 year old in a night club for grown people? Da bitch is totally full of shit she need her fucking ass wooped goin out da house with such revealing clothes anyways

  5. Why are the parents letting her have a tattoo? My parents would never let me have one. a Thirteen year old girl having a tattoo? I undestand yeah some parents let their kids have tattoos, but if they let her have tattoos at Thirteen. They let her dress and act like that. They let her go out that late, but yet they try and say he raped her and all that? Sounds to me as if it is all about publicity and money to them. Akon did nothing wrong. He was enjoying himself at a concert thinking it was a 21 and older club he would never have done something like that if he was somewhere where it was undersgae girls. You get what I mean? They dont care about anything their daughter does really because they let her get tattoos and dress the way she does and go out late to clubs and even if they didnt know they still let her get away with tattoos and things like that. I mean even if they dont do as much as it may seem, its obvious that they do let her get away with somethings, because she wouldnt be all wild if she had some restrictions. Ground your child for christs sakes. Akon shouldnt be the one with all the blame. It isnt right. He is simply playing around, joking with a girl he thought was older than 18. Come on everyone knows if he thought she was under 18 we all know he would never have done something like that on stage! Get real.

  6. It’s so funny to see this girl getting her groove on. To me, nothing shows she was unaware. She definitely knew what she was doing and she should take the responsibility, but not Akon. For her age, whether she sneaked in or not, she has to know better that Akon’s concert will surely be published and at least one or two of her family memebers will get to see it. Akon you have done nothing wrong. You still have your adorable fans out there including myself. (Ghanaian)

  7. my son gets it in. nah let me stop playing its not akons fault the girl wanted to do it and she had a fake id sooooooo how was akon supposed to know. he wa just doing his show and plus yall need to leave him alone now because he said he was sorry.now the paster should keep an eye on his daughter to see what she is up to. thats all $?33dy out!!! peace

  8. its the little slut’s fault not akon’s.
    she got a fake id, she caked on the make up and threw on the slutty clothes.
    how is akon to blame?
    he’s a famous rapper, of course he’d do that with a chick, but he along with everyone else knows its wrong to do it with a 15 year old!
    so he wouldnt do it if he knew.
    she’s to blame she’s a liar and a slut.

  9. well well, show me the christianity in that girl. show me where on her shows good christian principles. is it her tattoo? her dress code? her dancing? or perhaps her being at the show. which is it plz tel me. danah u disgraced your family and i know u r ashamed. in the end u get the shitty end of the stick becuz…akon brings out another HIT SONG…put da blame on me..he makes millions of you and you make not shit. ooooops!

  10. i’m sure that it;s not akons fualt, if he would’ve know that she was 15 i don’t think he will do that. it’s that hores fault for not saying her real age. in the video it look like she wanted it and then she says he abbused her, what a bitch. IT’S NOT AKONS FAULT, STUBID PEOPLE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  11. its not akons fault! it doesnt seem that tha girls wasn’t taking any fun! she knew whta sholud probably happen so she must not went to that pub! its 21 ! dannah is know saying she didnt want to because every one is talking about it & but its not true! leave akon alone!

  12. i think that its her own fault because no-one was telling her to dance the way she was. but if i was on stage with akon i would be dancing like that to. i think its pathetic no-one forced her to do anything she got up on that stage on her own will.

  13. I am from the caribbean and i know for a fact thar even if a club says 21 only and id needed you could still get in even if you’re 10 so they should blame Akon it was the girls and her parents fault, he is a minister and his daughter has her belly bottom pierced and has those kind of clothing in her wardrobe they need to leave Akon alone it wasn’t his fault he said he was sorry isn’t that enough the father should stop preaching to the congregation and start preaching to his daughter

  14. there is a saying if you play with fire you will get burn , not money not fame not love but burn .what part of the danah situation we do not understand.

  15. i cant really say i feel sympathy for the girl..i mean i love akon like no other, hes my favorite artist. Danah made her choice, she lied to her parents, went into the club, got onstage, danced with akon. Why would it be akons fault??? he thought she was prolly like in her 20’s she doesn’t look that young!!! Shes not a little angel and i think people look at her that way just because her dad is a minister.

  16. Babara wrote:”he thought she was prolly like in her 20’s she doesn’t look that young!!!”

    I think your comment belongs in the “Lowering the Age of Consent” thread.
    Surprised no-one else picked up on Danah’s “false ripeness”. We have all these “educated people” telling us it is safe to eat these growth homones laden meats, now they have just let loose clowned cattle at your favorite burger joint. Yuh cyah even tell these 16 year old ‘women’ out here anymore.


  17. obviously she wasnt forced into anything because clearly on stage before he started his act she was laying with her egs spread rolling her belly around. The pictures with her and him grinding and what not basically show her having ahold of his belt buckel pulling him up on her. Obviously there was no indication she didn’t like it or want it as she was pulling him against her and she was in a 18 or older bar.
    Its pathetic that akon has to take the fall for everything.

  18. i find that girl was just disguting, she shamed the society of women in this country. and to top it off she’s a paster daughter so its just ridculious,,,,,, common on ns man for a young girl like that have some respect for your self by d way did she get a trip to go Africa…………… um no i dont think so. she is just sad

  19. I’m from portugal and I am absolutely astonished with all this scene.. As i understood akon danced with a minor in a club where you should be at least 21 and he was acused of what exactly??

  20. everyone seems to be making this a problem putting the blame only the artist.The girl realises her faults and she is the one to be blamed since she new what was expected of her and the family she came from.This has nothing to do with racism inspite that most people considering those statements are rasicm.everyone makes mistakes the girl just got carried I personally don’t see the issue its she to blame.

  21. what was a 14 year old priest daughter doin at ZEN NIGHT CLUB. this is not fear since Akon got the blame but look at Danah dressed like a hooker she was ejoying herself with Akon and she wasn’t realizing that she would give the man a bad name . It is not Akon’s fault since he didnt know she was under age and she looks like a 21 year old…BLAME ZEN FOR NOT CHECKING I.D CARD…ANDALSO BLAME DANAH…A PRIEST DAUGHTER…NOT A FAVE SINGER AKON…YEAA…WE HATE DANAH

  22. Zen is to be blamed, Danah is to be blamed, her parents are to be blamed, the over rated singer Akon is to be blamed, and TnT culture as a whole is to be blamed.

  23. no shame at all watch the knid of clothes she have on she parents doh know where she dey ? she even have on a chain that refers to god but she study wining on some balck afraican man on stage !!! STUPID PEOPLE I EVER SEE !!!! if i were her parent i will send she out my house !!!!!

  24. This whole incident is rediculous and without merit, but hey, it’s Trinidad!This guy(Akon) was paid to perform in a club that had rules and rugulations to follow; lets check them out and see what we find;
    1. The club has an age restriction.
    2. The club has security
    3. No one is allowed on stage with the performer (except
    Those involved in the show).
    4. Police were present to maintain law and order.

    Now lets check the enforcement of those rules.

    1. How did this 15yr old get into the club in the first
    2. How did she get past security without showing ID.
    3. How and why was she allowed on the stage.
    4. Why didn’t the police remove her from the stage?


    The club had the responsibility for the performers and the patrons. Why was she allowed in the club, did Akon bring her? Did he put her on the stage. I’m sure she’s probably “doing one of the security” hence how she got in. Police was in the club, whey didn’t they get her off and out of the club.
    The club, the police and the organizer are the sole people responsibile for the whole incident. When was the last time a performer asked a woman or man for ID before he/she whines on someone? Never happened.

    For carnival, we have young girls, as young as 10, maybe younger, have men of all ages holding them from behind and performing all different kinds of acts, are they arrested or questioned?

    You see, just because Akon is a foreigner and a Rich one at that someone, and I suspect the media, who made a whole stink about the much loved entertainer causing him embarassement and shame. I hope when you locals who created this mess and embarassement for a man that came from so far to entertain you, go to that man’s country, you get treated the same way. I hope he never goes back to Trinidad. What a shame, take a good man’s name and drag it through the mud just for a few pages of news in order to sell a few additional papers.

  25. i know this was along time ago by look at that girl yeh how the hell was akon ment to know she was underage im 18 and she looks better and older than meee.. also she werent forced to dance in that way with him so i think he was unfairly treated for what happened

  26. Today is 18 march 2009, and only now i knew that the incident had took place almost a year ago?!!! I was surpriced when i first knew this story……….but in my opinion/thinkings……i think the girl is wrong, she shouldn’t go in the club as she is underage and the clucb should check the ages of the audiences, and Akon should dance lik that to anyone…….as a result…they all fault, they should take some resposibility for this incient, and at last it ends with happy ending don’t they?

    I like akon! i wish he can pass all abstacles in his life! fight fight fight!!!

  27. Give it a rest guys . At least 50 kids died in sweet T& T aka Rainbow country since this if you wish victimless crime , and voluntary carnivalike masquerade took place. Save your collective wrath for real issues. Akon musical record single on the subject, garnered four Grammy awards , and close to 2 million dollars in record sales. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5f7kfhHHH_A
    Who said Trinidadians are useless, we are helping to boost global economy for inner city , underclass , and Third world ,musical pimps , correct? Rest assured ,that this won’t be the last.

  28. This article, complete with video and the 178 preious comments, to which this is the 179th, forms a major sociological study in “values”. I hope some ambitious UWI graduate student does a PhD using this thread as a base.It would require copywrite permission, but should be well worth the effort.

  29. i was so sick at the sight of that young lady behavior and Akon’s as an entetainer

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