Despite raising eyebrows — and the ire of many — with his “anti-American” lyrics during a 2004 performance, Psy performed at Sunday night’s annual “Christmas in Washington” charity concert, with President Obama in attendance.
On Friday, the “Gangnam Style” star was forced to issue an apology after reports of a 2004 performance — during which he rapped lines about American troops and their families dying “slowly and painfully” — began circulating. In the statement, Psy called calling those words “inflammatory and inappropriate,” and explained he was caught up in the political fervor sweeping South Korea when he performed.
“The song I was featured in — from eight years ago — was part of a deeply emotional reaction to the war in Iraq and the killing of two innocent Korean civilians that was part of the overall antiwar sentiment shared by others around the world at that time,” he said “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 anyone by those words.”
Despite that apology, there were some who believed Psy shouldn’t perform at “Christmas in Washington,” even going so far as to post a (since removed) petition on the White House’s official site. But a spokesperson for TNT — which will air the concert on December 21 — confirmed on Friday that Psy would still appear, alongside the likes of Diana Ross and Demi Lovato.
And on Sunday night, Psy took the stage at Washington D.C.’s National Building Museum, dressed in a glittery Christmas sweater, and performed his signature hit. Obama, who attended the event with his family, did not directly address Psy or the controversy, instead toasting Ross and host Conan O’Brien, and remembering those less fortunate in a brief speech.
“Tonight is about Conan and Diana Ross and Santa and all the other talented folks on the stage,” Obama said. “But it’s also about the Americans who are spending this holiday in a hospital bed, or a shelter, or protecting our freedom on a battlefield far from home … let’s keep them in our prayers.”
Should Psy have performed at “Christmas in Washington?” Let us know in the comments below.