Jennifer Lopez is crying all the way to the bank after she landed herself in hot water by performing the song, Happy Birthday to You to the president of Turkmenistan at a concert Saturday night in that country. She might have asked herself if the song shouldn’t have been titled Happy Birthday to Who? At least then she could have regained a little credibility.
The 43 year-old performer found herself in a lot of bother with human-rights activists on Saturday night when she sang Happy Birthday toTurkmenistan President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow. She obviously wasn’t aware of his horrific human-rights record and oppression of his own people.
After the error of her ways had been pointed out to Jennifer, she quickly apologized and according to E!, here’s how Lopez found herself in such a awkward spot. In a statement that the singer released a statement on Sunday that said she thought the concert, which was put on by the China National Petroleum Corporation, had been thoroughly “vetted by her representatives” to avoid such occurrences.
The statement also said that the show’s promoters asked her to sing the birthday greeting at the last minute just prior to her taking the stage. In her statement, Jennifer relayed that, “had there been knowledge of human rights issues of any kind, Jennifer would not have attended.”
A close source told E! News that the information in Lopez’s statement is true. The source insisted that Lopez is very aware of these types of potential controversies. They also pointed out that at least twice in the past she had been invited to do an appearance and realized at the last minute there were human rights questions and bowed out because of that.
According to the source, “As a result, she is very thorough with her team and insists on knowing everything about the person or place that she has been asked to perform for. These requests come in all the time. And she takes them very seriously. She likes to have research done so that she doesn’t get herself into difficulties like this.”
It also appears that Jennifer knew nothing about the issues before hand. The source said that she, “can’t imagine that Jennifer was not aware of the human rights link in this instance.” Which could be true. Lopez was relying on her “people” to vet who she was singing Happy Birthday to.
“She has made a point of being involved in knowing everything about who she is performing for,” the source added. “Either that or she was grossly misinformed. There is no way she would have agreed to do this without having a prepared report on the country.”
According to E! News’ source Lopez was paid in the region of $750,000 plus her transportation costs were picked up by the organisers. But the source alleged that had Jennifer known Berdimuhamedow was going to be there, the “Live It Up” hitmaker would’ve declined the lavish invitation.
But an inside source wasn’t the only person to state that Lopez would have bailed if she’d known. Her manager Benny Medina talked to TMZ and told them a similar story.
Medina claimed that it was his decision for Lopez to come back onstage after singing three songs and that she was “ambushed” as the strongman came up and the corporate event’s host prodded her to sing Happy Birthday.
But despite the very sticky situation that Lopez finds herself in, she’ll apparently cry all the way to the bank, as another source has revealed that allegedly won’t be giving her salary to charity to “balance out” her human rights faux pa.
But Jennifer Lopez isn’t the only performer who’s come under fire for singing to a human rights disaster. Mariah Carey, Usher, Nelly Furtado and Beyoncé are among the several artists who caught in 2011 taking large amounts of money for performing at private events for the late Moammar Gadhafi.
In that instance, all the artists gave their “dirty” money to various charities. So Jennifer Lopez should, in future, ask who she’s singing Happy Birthday to before she agrees. Especially if she’s going to keep her “blood” money.
By Michael Smith