Psy, the South Korean rapper whose viral pop hit “Gangnam Style” has been viewed over 900 million times on YouTube, is expected to sing for the President and First Lady Michelle Obama on Sunday night at “Christmas in Washington,” the annual holiday concert held at the National Building Museum.
One carol he won’t be performing: “Dear American,” a song about a decade old in which Psy reportedly raps about “slowly and painfully” killing American soldiers and their family members. The 34-year-old global pop sensation performed the song at a 2002 protest concert against the presence of U.S. troops in South Korea.
So, will Psy still perform for the President on Sunday night? Or at Tuesday night’s “Jingle Ball” at the Patriot Center, for that matter? We’ve left messages with the organizers of “Christmas in Washington” and the “Jingle Ball” and will update this post when we hear back.
Meantime, some have petitioned the White House, asking that Psy not perform at Sunday’s concert.
UPDATE Saturday, Dec. 8. 3:08 p.m.
The White House has clarified that Sunday’s concert — which is also a charity event for the National Children’s Medical Center — is not controlled by the White House, nor was the line-up chosen by the White House.
The Post also reports that, “A petition asking President Obama to rescind Psy’s invitation to the event has been deleted from the White House website and replaced with a message saying the petition violated the site’s terms of participation.”
As of Saturday afternoon, a representative from “Christmas in Washington” says that Psy is still scheduled to perform on Sunday.
UPDATE 6:30 p.m.: A representative from “Christmas in Washington” confirmed that as of Friday evening, Psy will be performing at Sunday’s concert.
UPDATE 4:47 p.m. We’ve just received the complete statement from Psy via an e-mail from his management:
“As a proud South Korean who was educated in the United States and lived there for a very significant part of my life, I understand the sacrifices American servicemen and women have made to protect freedom and democracy in my country and around the world. The song I featured on in question from eight years ago – was part of a deeply emotional reaction to the war in Iraq and the killing of two Korean schoolgirls that was part of the overall antiwar sentiment shared by others around the world at that time. While I’m grateful for the freedom to express one's self, I’ve learned there are limits to what language is appropriate and I’m deeply sorry for how these lyrics could be interpreted. I will forever be sorry for any pain I have caused by those words.
“I have been honored to perform in front of American soldiers in recent months – including an appearance on the Jay Leno show specifically for them- and I hope they and all Americans can accept my apology. While it’s important that we express our opinions, I deeply regret the inflammatory and inappropriate language I used to do so. In my music, I try to give people a release, a reason to smile. I have learned that thru music, our universal language we can all come together as a culture of humanity and I hope that you will accept my apology."
UPDATE 4:33 p.m.Psy has issued an apology via MTV News. “While it’s important we express our opinions, I deeply regret the inflammatory and inappropriate language I used to do so. In my music I try to give people a release, a reason to smile. I have learned that though music, our universal language we can all come together as a culture of humanity and I hope that you will accept my apology.”