She Ate a Banana in a Music Video. Now She's Going to Jail

Egyptian singer Shyma sentenced to 2 years on 'debauchery' charge for sexy clip
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 13, 2017 6:21 AM CST
Updated Dec 17, 2017 10:30 AM CST

If Shyma's music video had aired on MTV in the US, she likely wouldn't be facing jail time. But the 20-something singer, whose star turn showed her stripped down to her skivvies and provocatively eating fruit, lives in Egypt, and the conservative powers-that-be there have sentenced her to prison, the BBC reports. Shyma (real name: Shaimaa Ahmed) was arrested in November, and on Tuesday she was handed a two-year sentence on charges of debauchery and publishing an indecent film, per local media. The New York Daily News says Mohamed Gamal, the director of the video, called "I Have Issues," was also sentenced to two years in prison in absentia. The Telegraph offers more details, explaining that in the video, Shyma appears in her underwear, then noshes on a milk-drizzled banana, licks an apple, and samples cake icing in front of a classroom of beguiled men.

The video got her more than 1 million followers, but then came her arrest. The debauchery charge isn't an uncommon one in Egypt, with media reports citing instances of women being thrown behind bars for dancing in music videos (that recently earned belly dancers six months each in prison) and, in the case of a singer who proclaimed on film that sipping Nile River water could get people sick, "spreading provocative publicity." As for Shyma, she noted before her arrest in a Facebook post that's since disappeared that she was sorry for her "inappropriate" behavior and "didn't imagine ... that I would be subjected to such a strong attack from everyone." The South China Morning Post, which says Shyma can appeal the verdict, notes that after her arrest, she blamed Gamal for including the provocative scenes without her consent. (Eight Egyptians were jailed for filming a gay wedding.)

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