Head of the class

Egyptian popster arrested for racy video of banana-eating

Singer Shyma comes under fire after clip showing her mimicking sexual acts on fruit in classroom; satirist held for belonging to ‘illegal group’

The singer Shyma, enjoying some milk and a banana in her video "I Have Issues." (screen capture: YouTube)
The singer Shyma, enjoying some milk and a banana in her video "I Have Issues." (screen capture: YouTube)

CAIRO — Egyptian police arrested a pop singer known as Shyma after she appeared in a music video in lingerie while suggestively eating a banana, officials said.

The racy video for her song “I Have Issues” had led to complaints, police officials said, adding she is suspected of “inciting debauchery.”

In the video, the hitherto little-known singer appears in a mock classroom licking an apple and appearing to mimic fellatio on a banana in front of a chalkboard scrawled with “Class #69” and the letters “vag.”

“Singer Shyma presents a lesson in depravity to youths,” thundered the Youm 7 newspaper in an article after the video was released.

The arrest was announced Saturday.

It was not immediately clear whether she would be formally charged.

In a Facebook posting last week, Shyma wrote that she had not anticipated the backlash against her video.

“I apologize to all the people who saw the clip and were upset by it and took it in an inappropriate way,” she wrote.

“I didn’t imagine all this would happen and that I would be subjected to such a strong attack from everyone, as a young singer…who has dreamed from a young age of being a singer,” she added.

Satirist accused of joining ‘illegal group’

The authorities under President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi have cracked down on some artists in Egypt using wide-ranging morality laws.

On Tuesday, the lawyer for a satirist known for his ribald humor was detained by Egyptian prosecutors on suspicion of joining an “illegal group.”

Islam al-Rifai, who has more than 70,000 followers on Twitter where he posts lewd jokes and pictures, was arrested last Thursday, his lawyer Gamal Eid said.

Eid said Rifai, who also designs websites, had been lured into being arrested after receiving a phone call from someone who claimed he wanted his help with a website.

Prosecutors then charged him with belonging to an “illegal group,” the lawyer said.

It was not immediately clear what group prosecutors suspected him of joining.

Rifai’s arrest led to supporters launching Twitter hashtags reading in Arabic “Freedom for Khorm” and “Khorm is not a criminal,” a sexually suggestive alias he used that literally means “hole.”

Earlier this month, Egyptian pop diva Sherine Abdel Wahab was referred to trial for suggesting at a concert that drinking from the Nile River could lead to illness, judicial officials said Wednesday.

In 2015, a court sentenced a female dancer to a year in prison for “inciting debauchery” in a raunchy music video for a song called “Let Go of My Hand.”

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