Long before Donald Trump became president, he was a flashy businessman, a New York icon and reality TV star, so naturally the annals of pop culture are littered with decades of Trump references and appearances.
One of those cameos — in Russian pop musician Emin Agalarov’s 2013 “In Another Life” music video — has now become part of the latest political controversy.
The music video features a slew of Miss Universe contestants who appear in the singer’s dream. But he’s actually dozed off in a boardroom, and Trump wakes him up.
“Emin, wake up. Come on. What’s wrong with you? What’s wrong with you Emin? Emin, let’s get with it,” Trump says. “You’re always late. You’re just another pretty face. I’m really tired of you. You’re fired!”
As The Washington Post reported Monday, a meeting between Donald Trump Jr. and a Russian lawyer purporting to have information potentially damaging to Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign had been set up by music publicist Rob Goldstone at the request of one of his clients: Russian pop singer Emin Agalarov. News of the meeting between the younger Trump and a Kremlin-linked lawyer, first reported by the New York Times, comes as investigators look into whether the Trump campaign colluded with Russians — something the president has repeatedly denied.
So, how did a Russian pop star not only get Trump to appear in one of his videos, but find himself in a position where he could ask for such a meeting?
Goldstone, the music publicist and co-founder of OUI 2 Entertainment, has counted Michael Jackson, TLC and B.B. King among his clients, according to his company’s website. OUI 2 Entertainment’s recent projects include Friars Club Roasts of Betty White and Quentin Tarantino; the Entertainment Icon Award Gala honoring Tom Cruise and hosted by Alec Baldwin; and the Hope, Help and Relief Haiti gala featuring Mary J. Blige.
OUI 2 also handled publicity for “Emin and David Foster Live in St. Petersburg” and the Miss Universe Pageant 2013 — which Agalarov and his father, wealthy Moscow real estate developer Aras Agalarov, helped bring to Moscow.
Born in Azerbaijan, raised in Moscow and educated in Switzerland and New York City, Emin Agalarov is not just a singer but also vice president of the Russian development company Crocus Group (his father is president). The family is close to Russian President Vladimir Putin, with Agalarov’s company having been awarded several large state building contracts, and Aras Agalarov receiving the prestigious “Order of Honor of the Russian Federation” after the Miss Universe Pageant 2013 in Moscow.
Emin Agalarov told The Post last year that his relationship with Trump began when the musician hired 2012 Miss Universe Olivia Culpo to star in a music video for the song “Amor.”
At the time, Agalarov didn’t know about Trump’s ownership of the Miss Organization, but he became interested in the pageant after shooting the video.
“We met a couple of times in Las Vegas, then we met here during the actual pageant,” Emin Agalarov told The Post last year. “That’s how we became basically partners the first time and eventually friends.”
The pageant coming to Russia presented a new opportunity for Emin Agalarov: a chance to not only to have more Miss Universe contestants in a music video but also Trump himself.
“It would be silly not to take advantage of” Trump being in Russia, Agalarov said, so he asked Trump to appear in his latest music video. “He’s like, ‘What am I supposed to do?’ I said just be part of it. He said, ‘How long would it be? I said, ’10 minutes.’ ”
The day of the shoot, 7 a.m. at the Moscow Ritz-Carlton Hotel, Trump entered, asked where to sit and did one take, according to Agalarov. “He’s an actor professionally.”
“Then the film director goes, ‘Can we have another take?’ He goes ‘No, it’s perfect, stop.’ And he went off,” Agalarov said. “So it really, literally took 10 minutes. But it’s the only music video that Mr. Trump has ever participated or took part on, and I’m proud to say that it’s mine.”
Although Emin Agalarov said last year he doesn’t know what his father thinks of Trump, the singer considers him a friend.
“We exchange correspondence. We see each other a few times a year. He really did me a favor by being in the video, and he tweeted out to check out Emin’s amazing new video and song and track, which is cool,” the performer said. “I think that’s his word you cannot buy. It can only be through a relationship.”
Michael Birnbaum and Rosalind S. Helderman contributed to this report.