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Saudi singer arrested over festival dab

Abdallah Al Shahani issued an apology after finding himself in hot water for "unintentionally and spontaneously" dabbing at a festival in the city of Taif

By Jon Chapple on 11 Aug 2017


The dab: promoting drug use, apparently

image © City Year

A popular Saudi singer was arrested last weekend for ‘dabbing’ at a music festival.

Abdallah Al Shahani was seized on the orders of the National Committee for Drug Control after a video emerged of him performing the dance move – dropping the head into the crook of a bent arm while extending the other arm straight – which is banned in Saudi Arabia for its supposed links to drug culture.

According to Saudi daily Okaz, the committee’s secretary-general, Abdul-Ella Al-Sharif, says the dab is “contrary to the national strategy to combat drugs”, and that Al Shahani was arrested the same as anyone who “incites or advocates for abuse of drugs”.

It thought dabbing originated in the Atlanta, Georgia, hip-hop scene in the mid-2010s, and has since been adopted by celebrities, sportspeople, politicians and even royalty.

Al Shahani later used Twitter to apologise, writing: “I apologise to our respected government and to my audience for unintentionally and spontaneously making this dance move at the festival in Taif. Please accept my apology.”


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