A highly anticipated concert by Nigerian singer Rema, scheduled for September 9 in Addis Ababa, has been cancelled amidst controversy surrounding his jewelry.
The cancellation came after Rema's customized necklace, featuring imagery of a burning church and inverted crosses, sparked outrage in the deeply religious country.
Many Ethiopians viewed the symbols as disrespectful and promoting devil worship.
"They're basically saying he's a devil worshipper 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," said an Ethiopian woman in an interview with media personality Daddy Freeze.
The Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church, which has a strong cultural footprint in the country, condemned Rema's jewelry and reportedly pressured the Sheraton Hotel Addis to call off the New Year's Eve show.
In a statement, the hotel expressed "deep regret for any offence caused" and emphasized its "respect for Ethiopian culture, history, and religious values."
According to the Ethiopian woman, "They made a statement, like a press release in Ethiopia about Rema. Yes, you can imagine, it’s a very big deal."
When asked about the content of the statement, she replied, "They’re basically saying he’s a devil worshipper because of what he has on his neck."