Gwen Stefani Covers Up for Show in Malaysia After Protests From Muslim Students
KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) - Gwen Stefani was a good girl, just like she promised.
The 37-year-old pop star wowed fans in Muslim-majority Malaysia on Tuesday, performing in costumes that showed almost no skin after Islamic critics claimed that her revealing clothes could corrupt the country's youth.
She burst onto the stage wearing a black leotard under a white short-sleeved shirt and black-and-white striped hot pants suit, with black gloves up to her elbows.
"I am very inspired tonight," Stefani told some 7,000 cheering fans at an indoor stadium.
She changed costumes for every song, remaining fully covered as she belted out tunes such as "The Sweet Escape," "Rich Girl," "Wind it Up" and "Hollaback Girl."
Stefani had promised to dress modestly after the 10,000-member National Union of Malaysian Muslim Students charged that her skimpy outfits and cheeky performances clashed with Islamic values.
The opposition Pan-Malaysian Islamic Party also accused her of promoting promiscuity and corrupting the country's youth.
In an interview with Galaxie, a local entertainment magazine, Stefani said she had made many changes for Malaysia, calling it a "major sacrifice."
"I've been in the music industry for 20 years and this is the first time that I'm facing opposition from people who have misunderstood me," she was quoted as saying.
"I'm not a bad girl," she said.
Media photographers weren't allowed to take pictures for copyright reasons, and those attending the show had to leave their cameras outside.
Most fans in the stadium said protesters had gone overboard with their criticism.
"I think they were making a big ho-ha for no reason. Even the local artists, they dress even much worse, much more indecent," said Denise Chan, a 15-year-old ethnic Chinese.
Fans also said Stefani had shown respect for Malaysia's cultural values.
"All international artists have to dress down a bit to respect our religion," said Linda Yusof, 33, a Malay Muslim.
Under government guidelines, a female artist must be covered from the top of her chest, including shoulders, to her knees. No jumping, shouting or throwing of objects onstage or at the audience is allowed. Performers also cannot hug or kiss, and their clothes must not have obscene or drug-related images or messages.
Ethnic Malay Muslims form about 60 percent of Malaysia's population of 26 million, with ethnic Chinese, who are Christians and Buddhists, making up 25 percent. Ethnic Indians, most of them Hindus, are about 10 percent.