Jennifer Lopez Got Paid To Sing For A Dictator
Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov is the President of Turkmenistan, a country in the former Soviet Bloc that Human Rights Watch called "among the most repressive in the world" (also second only to North Korea in press freedoms) and the United Nations basically called a shithole of injustice. Turkmenistan's only export is oil, so the China National Petroleum Corporation decided to throw Berdymukhamedov a birthday party. The only problem was what celebrity would immediately agree to attend and perform if they promised her a check? Since Beyonce wasn't available, cue Jennifer Lopez. The Guardian reports:
The US pop star Jennifer Lopezhas added to her long history of performing for unsavoury characters with a birthday concert for the president of Turkmenistan – a man accused of committing widespread human rights abuses while ruling over the hermit nation. Human rights activists criticised the star, also known as JLo, for singing at the flashy southern resort of Avaza on Saturday night to mark the 56th birthday of Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov, attended by a select group of officials, diplomats and executives. With a shout of "Turkmenistan!", Lopez took to the stage to sing and dance her way through her biggest hits. At the end, she changed from a skimpy white dress into a long, traditional Turkmen outfit to sing Happy Birthday, Mr President. "It was our pleasure," Lopez said from the stage. "And we wish you the very happiest birthday."
Jennifer Lopez BURN (via Human Rights Foundation)
"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."