Mental Breakdown

If you are a fan of 2NE1, you may have heard of the “controversy” surrounding their song Mental Breakdown, abbreviated as MTBD on their album titled “Crush”. The claim by “fans” who say they are Muslim, and soon after by the Korea Muslim Federation, is that the background singing during the bridge contains a prayer from the Quran.

It seems nowadays that people are waiting around to be offended by things that aren’t offensive. The background singing is pretty obviously CL’s voice, which means that she would have had to recite an Islamic prayer in Arabic to utter perfection in order for it to sound like what people claim it sounds like. I worked with refugees for a long time who spoke Arabic around me every single day, and if this background singing was in Arabic I would be able to pick up on it. This Indian/Middle-eastern sort of sampling that hip hop artists like to do these days always sounds the same no matter who does it because it is easy to mimic, dramatize and intensify. CL’s background singing, and the recording of the prayer that people are comparing her singing to, don’t sound the same. The prayer is too short, and CL’s singing is too long.

Moving on from logic, lets talk about the death threats. All over twitter, youtube and facebook are comments left by people telling CL to “go die”, calling her a variety of gender based slurs, and saying other things which I don’t want to repeat here. At this point, when you threaten to kill someone and cyber bully them, whatever disrespect you may have felt in regard to your religion is moot. If I were in charge of the Korea Muslim Federation, I would not have said the following: “Muslims find this song to be a severe insult and are demanding for the agency to take action including quickly removing it or editing the entire song, and apologizing to Muslims… In the case that they don’t comply to the demand, we will take action with the Muslims around the world who find this to be a serious matter.” Exactly what action do you plan to take? Legal, or violent? I consider death threats far more offensive and deserving to be apologized for, rather than background singing in a song.

Given the gender slurs, like “bitch”, “cunt”, “whore”, and the evolution of this hatred turning into an attack on CL’s sensual choreography during a live performance of MTBD, I really don’t believe this is about the Quran. Or maybe it is, and you are using CL’s womanhood and dance moves as a justification for verbal abuse, and to paint her as “evil”.

MTBD is a rap song, by a woman who is talking about karma, and the belief system by men that women are crazy. In order for CL, 2NE1 and their producer(s) to come to the conclusion to use an Islamic prayer, they would have had to do a fair amount of research, which may have eventually clued them in that karma is a Hindu belief, and not Islam. Wouldn’t make sense to use a Quran prayer about heaven and grapevines. One Islamic belief is “love first”, but clearly that didn’t happen. I am not familiar with laws in South Korea, but on the basis of principle 2NE1 are allowed to express themselves freely and saying they can’t is censorship. It’s not that different from Christians who are offended by gay marriage – your religion does not dictate the actions of someone else who does not worship the same religion as you. I know the Quran is precious to you, and if Muslims aren’t supposed to put it in a song, then Muslims shouldn’t put it in a song. That is your decision that you have the right to make. But 2NE1 have brains of their own, and they are allowed to make their own decisions too.


Word to the wise: Death threats and hate language will not be accepted here, and they will be taken seriously.

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