Danah’s Conduct at Zen: What’s the Big Deal?


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By Heru
From: Trinidad and Tobago News Blog
April 24, 2007

Danah and Akon at ZenWhen this issue first surfaced on the internet and local radio talk shows, before Trinicenter’s article “Akon Did Not Abuse Girl At Zen“, many people were making very racist comments against Akon. Over time, following the exposure of the racism, more photos and other information surrounding this incident, many have shifted blame to club Zen for breaching the law with regards to minors in such places. Many more have shifted the blame to Danah and are being extreme in their condemnations.

Another view of the Danah and Akon performance

If people are going on about the age of the girl, then fine. There is a law addressing minors in clubs that was breached there. But if you remove the age of the girl from the equation, then Minister Hinds and several other people have expanded on what “lewd dancing” is as an illegal act.

Some people on talk shows are attaching this issue to the controversy over the ‘Manzanilla Beach After Carnival Cool Down’ which involved ladies actually showing their private parts on stage and not just dancing raunchy. As I stated yesterday, if we are going down the road of charging people for raunchy dancing outside of stripping for cash (although I disagree with the law there) then the government is definitely talking about regulating regular dancing at Carnival time.

The obvious hypocrisies over this issue have been exposed. There are acts with males standing on their heads on stage and females gyrating on them; there are acts with women with their hands on the ground and butts in the air and some guys gyrating on them. There are people who regularly go on the ground and gyrate on each other at Carnival fetes.

I have even seen these behaviours in the local Country Club among many other ‘prestigious’ places. Generally speaking, when these incidents are reported in the papers, church people make noise and there is much talk about it, but the law generally seems to be clear on what they consider illegal.

If people are just being shown that one small clip aired by TV6 of the girl and Akon at Zen, it does not convey what transpired before and after that one clip. It paints a distorted picture. Before that clip, there is the girl among others wining, ‘Dutty Wining’ etc. on their own for the audience. Then there are images of the girl pulling the artist closer to her several times, actually holding his belt at one time and pulling him in.

‘Hot Wuking’ in Trinidad

This is all common in club shows and even Carnival fetes and nothing is wrong with that in my view, except if one is deliberately breaking the law with a minor. I will add in this particular show at Zen, there was no evidence that the star or others were paying the girl to strip or participate unwillingly in the dance. The girl herself said she just got carried away. So this incident cannot be equated with the stripping incident at Manzanilla Beach.

Also, I feel people are making too much of the girl’s performance as if the girl did something so wrong and is in need of salvation as a result of that dance performance. The behaviour of that girl is typical of teens that have the resources to indulge. Many buy into the “Girls Gone Wild” type of conduct.

If the girl felt that how people are reacting to her performance is fair and she would reconsider her actions in the future, then fine. But some of the comments actually speak about the repressed sexuality of the commentators. They make a big deal at the sight of people gyrating as if there is something wrong with that.

This country was Christianized and certain immature acts, curious behaviours and even harmless normal behaviours have been criminalized as a result.

There also seems to be some special relationship between this government and Zen’s owner, Johnny Soong. Not that something is wrong with that per se, but there seems to be an effort to play down the only aspect of that incident that was a clear breach of the law – the age of the girl in the club.

Mr. Hinds accused Akon of possibly committing, “…a criminal offence of lewd dancing in public”, which is spurious at best, but called on Zen to more or less do better age checks in the future.

Now the Prime Minister, Patrick Manning, got involved and is calling on the public to forgive the actions of teenager Danah Alleyne. He also said: “I have taken very careful notice of this matter and the owner of Zen owes it to the public to take responsibility. I will be interfacing with Zen because that kind of thing should never be allowed to happen in this country.” His statement about interfacing with Zen is even stranger. Why is he going to meet with the owner of Zen? I did not know that Zen was such an essential service that when they are clearly in breach of the law, the Prime Minister has to talk to them about possibly bucking up. This new aspect has added a strange dimension to this debate.

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.

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

42 thoughts on “Danah’s Conduct at Zen: What’s the Big Deal?”

  1. Ignorance is never a defence. If Danah had chosent to go back with Akon to his hotel room and her parents charged him with carnal abuse, he could not use the fact that he was able to assume within reason that she was atleast 18 as a defence.
    Now with a good lawyer, which Akon can well afford, Akon will be excused with merely a slap on the wrist. Zen however was in violation of the law, without proper identification Danah ought not to have been allowed into the club. I do believe they ought to have been fined to send a message that this will not be tolerated.
    Now where it comes to the blame of parents…I am a firm believer that each individual ought to bear their own shame. She misled her parents. She was in a place no 15 year old should be. Danah chose to get on stage. She made her choices and now she has to live with them. This is not a reflection on her parents, but rather a reflection on the individual Danah chooses to be. That does not negate the validity of anything her Father preaches, do not judge him or her family! As for her punishment, that is a private matter! We are really trying to over step our bounds now.
    Personally, I never went to clubs until I was in university. I am a Christian lady and make sure that even in a club my behaviour is not questionable. I do have fun, but you will not see me with my legs around any man’s waist, nor will you see me drunk. These are my choices, and as humans we are entitled to make our own choices. As a christian, I know it is not my place to judge anyone who chooses to carry on however they may.
    Paige, I understand your fear that young men may approach you and expect similar behaviour, but if you do not carry yourself in a way that invites that kind of offering, such offers will be few and far between.
    My apologies for how banal this is becoming, however, have we watched carnival? Have we participated in carnival? Danah’s behaviour was “minor league” in comparison. I urge us to find a government scandal to gossip about and leave this poor child and poor family alone.

  2. I think this whole thing has been blown way out of proportion. If the person who put put the videos did not say she was a fifteen year old, this would have passed like nothing. If it had been a local star, it would not have been that big a problem. Also this sort of thing happens during the carnival, is it not acceptable for this sort of thing to happen outside of carnival time? Though ZEN is at fault for not doing a proper identification search Danah knew what she was doing and should be locked up in her parents house for as long as they can keep her.

  3. I follow as much “news from home” as I can find on Trinicenter (a superb website) and I have to say, like allyuh cyar see ah publicity stunt when it kickin’ yuh in de face,” Forget dis chupidness! It have seriuous ting happenin dey. Leave dem “celebrities” to live “celibrity” lifestyle and look to for people who “uplfull an right”
    Akon dem an Machel
    doh ha nuttin
    to gi yuh.

  4. i think that danah knew exactly what she was doing and her ‘daddy’ should stop defending her. take responsibility for your actions danah.

  5. I don’t blame akon 4 his performance he does it in all his concerts. It’s Dana 2 be blamed,simply because of her vulgarity portrayed on the stage that night.


  7. Those of us who have become addicted to “Dancing With The Stars(ABC Monday and Tuesday evenings) should watch the costumes of the female dancers- this is supposed to be ballroom dancing, where low cut dresses reveal the rise in the curve of their buttocks-exactly where Danah’s tattoo is, or watch the extremely short non-skirts of some of the female dancers. Non of these women would venture anywhere in real life in a costume like this. The men of course are always fully clad. It is the female, flesh wiggling and jiggling that judges want to see. The men toss these women into the air, throw them between their legs, the women collapse rag-doll like on stage as part of the show. No one sees this as male dominance or rape suggesstion, but in some cases it is. The women, incliding Laila Ail wiggle their behinds, make come hither gestures of extreme seductiveness, and this is braodcast internationally; but the men are not African, and barebacked. People still see barebacked African men as “Slaves” and why should they have access to pale girls who shake their booty at them?

    Watch Dancing With The Starts, listen to the judges comments-the men- “you were hot” to Leila, and then tell me why we continue to decry Akon,and why Verizon Wireless was in such a hurry to pull their sponsorship from him. Were they tryng to equalize on Don Imus’ losing His contract with CBS radio?

    Does the world percieve dark skinned “Senegalese Born” barebacked men in the same light as a white guy in an evening suit? Sinatra had many evening suits, he was associated with the mafia, and was a friend of presidents. Did anyone withdraw their sponsorship of him?
    When one or two former winners of the Masters Golf Tournament remarked that Tiger Woods’ dinner menu would probably include “Chitlins and Collard Greens” or something to that effect, did they lose the sponsorship of the groups that follow the Masters? Now, if I had been Tiger Woods, I would have served chitlins, cornbread, the works, followed by Thai food, then if anyone had any appetite left, the roast beef and potatoes. But, he is not I. He still needs the approbation of his peers and his elders. He has to uphold tradition.

    These are some of the situations that give serious thinkers the right to say that this is a racist world, and racism colours everything we say and do, in public. Local people who condemn Akon, should ask thmselves whether they would have been so vituperative had he been the complexion of say Paul Keens Douglas or the Gesseppi guy whose mother ran the school in Arima. I am trying to choose two “Light skinned” guys that other would know, to make a point. I have nothing but good wishes for both named men.

  8. This incident has been blown out of proportion and blame is being shelled out in error.
    There are a couple of issues here
    1) Zen neeeds to be more diligent in ensuring under-aged / minors are not allowed in the club. This needs to be dealt with firmly as some of us, though not all of us, know there is an age limit, however this is not well published in Trinidad. This needs to be done as it in for example in Canada and the the US and there needs to be more public awareness that an age limit does exist and will be enforced. Club goers need to verify age with IDs.

    2) Akon is an entertainer. Zen is a club, for adults not children. Zen is not a place of worship not it is a goverment building or school etc. It is privately owned and operated and entertainment as long as it is legal, cannot be regulated according to the Prime Minister’s religious views or any other persons religious views. Akon did nothing wrong.

    3) Let’s leave the parenting up to the child’s parents. They should be more aware of what their teen is involved with. The parents should be more accountable and take responsibility for their child’s behaviour – she is after all a minor and their child.

  9. Linda Edwards, what the hell are you talking about?
    I feel the blames lies on the girl. Besides the footage with Akon, the young lady has other VERY raunchy photos of herself on the internet. So this little lolita is used to flaunting her body for men. Now I am not an Akon fan (he supposedly allready has 3 wives and he still acts like a digusting manwhore) but in a dark club, while perfoming, he not thinking about who might be underage. He saw what she was advertising, a red, scant bathing suit or whatever that is. In this instance Akon is not guilty, just stupid.

  10. I dont believe Akon is the one to blame.After all he didnt come to Trinidad to expect to dance with a little girl.Dana Alleyne has no shame as to how she conducted herself.Based on her past reputation on the net I say her father brought up a little hoe in the making.Dana may think her act is popular but people have no respect for women much less young girls who act like that.I think her pastor father should face reality.

  11. A 14year old leaves her home to go to TGI (a 18years and over) and remains out after 2am. What self respecting parents would actually allow this to happen. Isn’t it funny when danah was interviewed she could not look at the camera straight. I know her, I was there and she certainly was NOT drugged. You can ask her brother because he was there at ZEN.












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