WASHINGTON – South Korean superstar Psy, famed for his “Gangnam Style” mega hit, will perform as planned Sunday for a US audience that includes President Barack Obama, after he apologized for anti-American remarks.
In 2002, the singer smashed a model US tank at a protest over the US presence in his country and the death of two South Korean teenagers who were struck by an American military vehicle.
Two years later, he joined a performance of a song that made reference to the US-led invasion of Iraq, using controversial expletive-laden lyrics calling for the killing of “Yankees who have been torturing Iraqi captives.”
“Kill their daughters, mothers, daughters-in-law, and fathers. Kill them all slowly and painfully,” he rapped.
Psy performed the lyrics at a concert held in the wake of the beheading of a South Korean evangelist by Islamist militants in Iraq, after Seoul rejected their demand to halt a troop deployment to the country.
But he recanted those thoughts on Saturday ahead of the annual “Christmas in Washington” concert to be attended by Obama and his family.
“I will forever be sorry for any pain I have caused by those words,” the 34-year-old said in a statement that was later followed by confirmation that the singer would appear as planned at Sunday’s concert.
He said the past performance and lyrics were part of a “deeply emotional reaction” to the war in Iraq and deaths of the two schoolgirls that was “part of the overall anti-war sentiment shared by others around the world.”
“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 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.”
News reports of the performances surfaced in the United States days before the pop sensation’s planned appearance in the US capital.
“Psy is performing at Christmas in Washington as planned,” a spokeswoman for event organizers TNT said in a statement to AFP.
Psy’s “Gangnam Style” has become the most-watched video of all time on YouTube in just five months, garnering almost 906 million views.
The clip has inspired thousands of online imitations of Psy’s famous horse-ride dance, and flash mobs of tens of thousands in Paris, Rome and Milan.