Well this is awkward: singer Jennifer Lopez performed a show in Turkmenistan on Saturday (29th June), but was finishing with her "Happy Birthday Mr. President" song a step in the wrong direction for the Amnesty International supporter?
Turkmenistan, if you've never heard of it, is a country that sits below Uzbekistan, just across the waters from Azerbaijan. No? Never mind. USA's 'Jenny From the Block' singer J.Lo was performing a corporate concert hosted by the China National Petroleum Group to an audience which included Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov, the president of the former Soviet country. After singing three songs to rapturous applause, the 43 year-old entertainer decided to round off her performance with a sweet rendition of 'Happy Birthday' to 56 year-old Berdymukhamedov, unaware of his history of human rights violations.
Jennifer Lopez Has Been Criticised For Singing 'Happy Birthday' To Turkmenistan's President.
Berdymukhamedov AKA The Birthday Boy AKA Arkadag ('The Patron') is notorious for having journalists thrown into prison and critics of his government tortured in a country known to be the second worst in the world for press freedom and that fiercely discriminates against ethnic minorities. The incident is particularly bad press for Amnesty International supporter J.Lo with her involvement in Mexico helping to curb violence against women, according to The Week, as it shows an incongruity between her supposed morals and her loyalties as a working performer. Despite being reportedly paid a high sum of money to perform, J.Lo maintains she wasn't aware that Turkmenistan is ranked as the third most oppressive place in the world to live.
J.Lo Is Renowned For Her Dance Routines And Energetic Performances.
In a further cringe-worthy turn that demonstrated a total lack of research, J.Lo's choreographer, J.R. Taylor tweeted before the concert: "The Turkmenistan breeze feels amazing at night, kidz! I wonder were all my Turkmenistan followers are!? Hit me up!", leading to his followers politely informing him that Twitter is banned in Turkmenistan.
J.Lo Maintains She Had No Idea That Turkmenistan Is Under An Oppressive Regime.
The president of the Human Rights Foundation, Thor Halvorssen, has denounced J.Lo consenting to perform, saying "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."
She should probably go and hide under a rock for a while, then at least do a bit of pre-concert Googling next time.