Oh for funk sake, Ed: Bruno Mars says music ban is Sheeren madness
Funk revivalist takes a lighthearted jab at crooner Sheeran after their songs are restricted in Indonesia
Bruno Mars has launched a cheeky Twitter protest over Indonesia’s most populous province slapping restrictions on some of his biggest hits – and poked fun at fellow music megastar Ed Sheeran in the process.
The West Java broadcasting commission ruled this month that about 17 foreign songs could only be played on the airwaves between 10pm and 3am, citing morality concerns. Restricted titles include Grammy Award winner Mars’s That’s what I like and Versace on the Floor, Ed Sheeran’s megahit Shape of You and Ariana Grande’s Love Me Harder.
“WTF! I was poppin in Indonesia! Then here comes @edsheeran with his sick, perverted lyrics, gettin us all pinched! Thanks Ed. Thanks a lot,” the funk revivalist said to his 42 million Twitter followers this week.
Separately, Indonesia is drafting a national law that seeks to ban blasphemous and “pornographic” music content, sparking concerns about freedom of expression in the world’s biggest Muslim-majority nation.
Responding to the American singer’s tweet, broadcast commission chief Dedeh Fardiah said Mars “maybe didn’t understand the context” of the new rules. The commission, she said, responded to complaints from local residents in West Java, which has about 48 million people and is one of Indonesia’s most conservative provinces.
“After a review, we think the (restricted) songs’ lyrics indeed violate the rules which say programmes cannot air material (between 3am and 10pm) which has sexual and obscene content, or implies sexual activity.”
Foreign artists have occasionally found themselves in the crosshairs of religious conservatives or fallen afoul of Indonesia’s censors. In 2018, a TV advert featuring members of K-pop supergroup Blackpink dressed in miniskirts was banned because the national Broadcasting Commission deemed it indecent.