Samsung Singapore recently released an advertisement to promote its new wearable devices, such as noise-cancelling headphones and a smartwatch with a heart rate monitor. The South Korean electronic giant titled its ad series as ‘Listen to your heart’ campaign and came out with a 5-minute long video for the same.
Drag Queen son and a Hijabi mother
The particular ad showed several participants’ and their reactions as they listened to heartfelt recorded messages from their loved ones. One of the pairs of participants featured a Muslim woman wearing a hijab. That woman listens to a message from her son, who happens to be a drag performer.
The drag queen son tells her mother that it was the ‘proudest’ moment for him when she came to the club and despite the gazing eyes of other people, saw him perform his routine.
The son says, “You are just unbothered having people looking or judging you differently, having a son that does drag.”
The ad attempted to show that the woman who used Samsung’s wireless earbuds to ‘listen to her heart’ was able to love her son, despite queerness being frowned upon by Islam. In the end, the drag-queen son, in his full attire walks into the room and hugs his mother.
Islamists revolt against the ad
However, as soon as the ad was released, the radical Islamists following the Wahabi thought of school came down hard upon Samsung. Singapore has a minority ethnic Malay group and many of them claim to be religiously Muslim. They started protesting against the ad and demanded its roll-back.
So apparently, Samsung aired an ad featuring a Muslim mum expressing support for her drag queen son and WAAPD members were so swift to act that they've already taken the ad down before anyone else could really see it 😂 pic.twitter.com/25TYVRscwO
— Jeremy Sim (@mimi_dumbright) January 19, 2022
Despite the advancement, Singapore remains a conservative country where LGBTQIA rights are frowned upon. As a result, Samsung on Wednesday acknowledged that the advertisement could be perceived as insensitive and offensive.
We have removed the ad: Samsung in its apology
The apology statement by Samsung stated, “We are aware of the feedback that one of our recent campaign films for our wearable products may be perceived as insensitive and offensive to some members of our local community. We acknowledge that we have fallen short in this instance, and have since removed the content from all public platforms.”
The company further added, “Samsung believes that innovation and growth are driven by diversity and inclusivity. We will certainly be more mindful and thorough in considering all perspectives and viewpoints for our future marketing campaigns.”
Meanwhile, the boy, depicted as the son in the ad, released a video on Instagram last Thursday (January 20) reassuring the netizens that he and his mother were “absolutely fine.”
The drag performer known as Vyla Virus added, “I am not going to discuss the comments that were said in that video. That video was solely about a mother’s love and nothing else,”
Samsung commercializing the LGBTQIA movement
As good as Samsung’s intent was, it was an attempt to use an emotional coin to drive its sales. Ever since people have started openly talking about LGBTQ+ rights, the big companies have hopped on the Rainbow wagon and commercialized this particular section of society.
Every year, Rainbow month (also known as Pride month) becomes a customary tradition for big capitalist companies like Samsung to preach about inclusivity while selling their overpriced products in disguise. Several of these companies are often found wanting when it comes to hiring people from the LGBTQ+ community.
Moreover, Samsung is a South Korean company. In South Korea, K-pop performers are not allowed to reveal their gender identity or sexual orientation. Homophobia is still rife in South Korea, where very few mainstream music stars have come out as gay. The country has no comprehensive anti-discrimination laws to protect LGBTQ+ South Koreans. Some exceptions are starting to turn rogue but they are very few and far in between.
Read More: Suicides, unreal expectations and more: The dark underbelly of K-Pop
The zeal of fresh converts
As for the Muslims of Singapore, their hatred for a rather innocuous ad showed that the community was still entrenched in conservative and age-old stereotypical customs. While Saudi Arabia – the leader of the Muslim world continues to shed its orthodoxy, the fresh converts, residing in India, Malaysia or Singapore continue to practice archaic beliefs.
Read More: The zeal of a fresh convert – How fundamentalism in the Indian subcontinent prevails even in times of coronavirus
Muslims in South Asian countries like Pakistan and Malaysia, and more so in a “Secular” country like India suffer from a severe identity crisis, and thus a “good” Muslim has to affirm his identity that much more zealousness, even if that means gunning for someone’s life, based on an ad.
The more you are away from the Arab world, the more radical you have to be. As, at the end of the day, for Muslims, a “good Muslim” is one who adheres to the Arab culture and follows the literal version of Islam, propagated by Saudi Arabia.
Thus, such ads are met with passive-aggressive behaviour from the community in these regions.
They could have tried with Hindu mother and gay son. I am sure the leftist, media in India would have supported it. We also have real gay chaps in Bollywood who have openly admitted such as Karan Johar, Tushar Kapoor and so many more. There are of course more Muslims and Christians but they are not as open or as openly accepted in their communities. And just wait for sometime. This ad will come up in India in its desi version. And no points for guessing which religion will be targetted as usual. You will have all kind of cheap celebrities from advertisement world to Bollywood who will come out and support it