Jennifer Lopez is being heavily criticized after her concert performance Saturday night for the president of Turkmenistan, a controversial leader who has a reputation for violating the human rights objectives that J-Lo often promotes.
Despite a variety of Internet search engines and other tools that would have informed Lopez and her team about Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow, the Turkmen president who has been condemned by human rights groups for his oppressive rule, the Latina songstress is claiming she had no idea what was going on in the country and would have never performed had she known.
The “Dance Again” crooner sang “Happy Birthday, Mr. President” to the leader, and ironically, even tweeted about the birthday concert while still in the country that prohibits its own citizens from using social media.
Human Rights Watch has listed Berdimuhamedow as “among the most repressive” leaders in the world, and the public has already become infuriated by the performance.
“What is the next stop on her tour, Syria?” questioned Human Rights Foundation President Thor Halvorssen, in a press release. “The dictator of Kazakhstan’s birthday is July 6, maybe she will also pay him a visit?”
The 43-year-old New York native apologized for the birthday concert and her reps are doing their best to mend her reputation with many human rights advocates.
“Had there been knowledge of human rights issues of any kind, Jennifer would not have attended,” J. Lo’s spokesperson said as her public relations team prepared for some serious damage control.
While she certainly has the right to decide how she will earn her money in the entertainment industry, Halvorssen pointed out that the major issue is that Lopez has spent much time promoting other organizations in favor of human rights.
“Lopez obviously has the right to earn a living performing for the dictator of her choice and his circle of cronies, but her actions utterly destroy the carefully crafted message she has cultivated with her prior involvement with Amnesty International’s programs in Mexico aimed at curbing violence against women,” he said.
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With so much harsh criticism coming her way, it will take much more than an apology and claiming ignorance to make this mess go away.
Other stars who have been caught up in the same fiasco made it up to the public by donating the money to charities after releasing a well thought-out apology.
Huge stars such as Beyonce, Nelly Furtado, Mariah Carey, 50 Cent, and Usher were all given large payoffs to take the stage at parties for the late Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi, and had to resort to the donation method to clear their names.
They also claimed they had no idea the powerful leader was connected to terrorism in any way.
In today’s music industry, there is an increasingly high expectation that performers will directly reflect their political beliefs in who they choose to perform for and where they choose to perform.
Mixing music and politics is exactly what put Alicia Keys in hot water with Alice Walker. The Pulitzer Prize-winning author has been begging the “Girl on Fire” songstress to cancel her July 4 concert in Israel.