You would think that with multiple hit albums, popular film credits, a clothing line, a gig judging other people on American Idol, and a working production company, Jennifer Lopez's estimated $250 million net worth would be enough, right? Apparently not. The Grammy-nominated Lopez is apparently so desperate for accolades that she recently sang happy birthday for Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov, the authoritarian president of Turkmenistan.
The American pop diva headlined Berdymukhamedov's decadent birthday bash at a huge resort on the Caspian Sea. Berdymukhamedov was "elected" president of Turkmenistan in 2007 and has ruled the former Soviet republic since then. Wearing a clingy outfit, Lopez danced on stage with half-naked backups for a while before dressing in traditional Turkmen garb to sing "Happy birthday, Mr. President" to the authoritarian ruler of the energy-rich state.
Ignoring the plight of the people of Turkmenistan, which Human Rights Watch has declared to be one of the most repressive regimes on the planet, J-Lo's choreographer J.R. Taylor tweeted about how nice the weather was and how hospitable the collection of regime leaders, diplomats, and CEOs of state-run corporations were. The JLo Dancers tweeted complaining about the long flight from Los Angeles to Turkmenistan — a plight that the Turkmen people will never be able to experience as the regime prohibits international travel.
Taylor added further salt to the wound by tweeting this: "The Turkmenistan Breeze feels amazing at night Kidz! I wonder were all my Turkmenistan followers are!? Hit me up!" For the few citizens of Turkmenistan who are able to access the internet, Twitter is on a long list of banned websites.
Lopez and her crew were flown into Turkmenistan by China National Petroleum Corporation, which does business with the Central Asian regime. CNPC is the largest company in the People's Republic of China and is state-owned by the communist government there. It does business with some of the more sordid and corrupt states in the world, including Burma, Kazakhstan, and Syria. China is looking to gain access to a bigger share of Turkmenistan's impressive energy reserves.
J-Lo has spent a lot of time being touted as a philanthropist and working with Amnesty International and her own charitable foundation. Alas, this philanthropy was apparently just an exercise in vanity. By selling herself to one of the most cruel dictators in the world, she has done nothing more than to reveal her utter lack of a moral compass while helping perpetuate Berdymukhamedov's cult of personality.
Human rights activists are rightfully slamming Lopez for this incredibly disgusting act of celebrity. “Lopez obviously has the right to earn a living performing for the dictator of her choice and his circle of cronies, but her actions utterly destroy the carefully-crafted message she has cultivated with her prior involvement with Amnesty International’s programs in Mexico aimed at curbing violence against women,” said Thor Halvorssen, president of the Human Rights Foundation.
Millennial human rights lawyer Ronan Farrow put it bluntly to Lopez on Twitter: "Singing happy birthday to dictators while dissidents and journalists die in their torture chambers? Still Jenny from the block, @JLo?"
Apparently a massive fortune and worldwide fame is not enough. In reaching out for money from CNPC and applause from a dictator, Jennifer Lopez has betrayed her fans, her legacy, and her fellow human beings, and she should be ashamed of herself.
Video has been released of Jennifer Lopez singing happy birthday to the dictator of Turkmenistan. View the shameful moment here: