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Ethiopian Orthodox Church Allegedly Cancels Rema’s Concert Over Controversial Necklace

In a surprising turn of events, the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church has reportedly exerted pressure on the management of Sheraton Hotel in Addis Ababa to cancel the highly anticipated concert of Nigerian afrobeats superstar, Divine Ikubor, popularly known as Rema. The decision was allegedly made due to accusations from the influential Orthodox Church leaders, who labeled the singer as a “devil worshipper” based on his choice of a customised necklace.

The revelation came to light during an interview between a Nigerian media personality, Daddy Freeze, and an Ethiopian woman. According to her, the cancellation of Rema’s concert was a direct result of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church’s intervention. The woman claimed that the church leaders, known for their significant influence in the country, accused the singer of promoting devil worship due to the artwork used for the concert, which featured Rema wearing a customised necklace adorned with a burning church and inverted crosses.

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“They made a statement, like a press release in Ethiopia about Rema. Yes, you can imagine, it’s a very big deal,” the woman shared during the interview. “They’re basically saying he is worshipping the devil because of what he has on his neck. And to be honest, I never thought of it myself. And there’s more to it; to be honest.”

The cancellation of Rema’s concert has sparked widespread debate and raised questions about the influence of religious institutions on artistic expression and freedom of speech. While some argue that the church’s concerns are valid, others believe that such actions stifle creativity and limit cultural exchange.

In a video circulating on social media, a lady can be seen defacing Rema’s Addis Ababa concert poster, further highlighting the controversy surrounding the event. The incident serves as a reminder of the intense emotions and divisions that can arise when religion intersects with popular culture.

Rema, a rising star in the Nigerian music industry, has gained international recognition for his unique blend of afrobeats and catchy melodies. His fanbase extends beyond Nigeria, with a growing following in Ethiopia and other African countries. The cancellation of his concert in Addis Ababa undoubtedly disappointed his fans, who were eagerly anticipating the opportunity to see him perform live.

This incident also raises questions about the role of cultural sensitivity and understanding in the global entertainment industry. As artists increasingly engage with diverse cultures and audiences, it becomes essential to navigate the complexities of religious and cultural sensitivities while still expressing individual creativity.

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The controversy surrounding Rema’s customised necklace serves as a reminder that symbols and imagery can hold different meanings across cultures. While the necklace may have been intended as a fashion statement or artistic expression, it inadvertently offended the Ethiopian Orthodox Church and its followers.

It remains to be seen how this incident will impact Rema’s career and future performances. However, it serves as a cautionary tale for artists to be mindful of the potential cultural and religious implications of their artistic choices.

The cancellation of Rema’s concert in Addis Ababa by the Sheraton Hotel management, allegedly under pressure from the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church, has sparked a heated debate about religious influence on artistic expression. The accusations of devil worship against the Nigerian afrobeats superstar based on his customised necklace have ignited discussions surrounding cultural sensitivity and the complexities of the global entertainment industry. As the incident continues to unfold, it serves as a reminder of the importance of understanding and respecting diverse cultural and religious perspectives in the pursuit of artistic expression.

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