The singer/actress performed in front of a private audience celebrating the birthday of notorious dictator Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov - a known violator of human rights
Jennifer Lopez must have thought she was about to make the easiest couple of million dollars of her life when she was asked to fly out to an isolated part of Central Asia and perform a one off show for a handful of dignitaries, and rather than doing her research into the country she was about to perform in the diva went straight ahead with the concert without a second thought. She might be regretting her readiness somewhat though, as her show in the former Soviet province of Turkmenistan has whipped up a storm of controversy.
J-Lo is caught in the middle of a PR disaster
Turkmenistan is somewhat comparable to North Korea, given that it is ruled over by a cult-driven dictator - Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov - who maintains absolute power and authority over the Turkmen population, regularly manipulating his power for personal gain. In the past and even today the county is seen as a human rights red ward, with strick regulations on the media and internet, public speech, education and propaganda all in force, making social media sites like Twitter strictly forbidden among the public and tightly regulated among visiting parties - something the J-Lo team didn't seem to realised, in particular her choreographer J.R. Taylor, who wrote on Twitter; "I wonder were all my Turkmenistan followers are!? Hit me up!"
Now Jenny is being asked to explain herself amidst the outcry of controversy stemming from her performance and people want to know what she aims on doing with all that money she made from the one-off concert. Her fee has not been disclosed with the press although her publicists have been asked numerous time for a figure. Her publicist has since address the human rights issue and verified that "had there been knowledge of human-right issues of any kind, Jennifer would not have attended."
The singer appeared at a concert promoting human rights just before her Turkmen gig
"The problem isn't that she performed in Turkmenistan," Rachel Denber, deputy director of the Europe and Central Asia Division for Human Rights Watch said following the performance. "It's that she was part of a propaganda fest for a president who presides over one of the most closed, repressive governments in the world."
Although her team have also denied that she was a part of a propaganda act, starring as the main attraction at the opening of an exclusive resort for the region's rich and powerful in country of abject poverty sounds like she was a pawn in a propaganda act. It also sounds as though she was used somewhat by the state-run China National Petroleum Corporation, who organised her visit and are currently Turkmenistan's best customers in exporting natural resources from the controversial country. J-Lo is staring to look like the victim here, but she still has time to do right to the people of Turkmenistan.
Is she in the wrong?