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Anti-American rap won't keep PSY from performing for president

Christopher Polk / Getty Images file

PSY in November 2012.

South Korean sensation PSY will perform at the "Christmas in Washington" concert taping Sunday as planned despite furor over a graphic anti-American rap he delivered in 2004, TNT told NBC News on Friday. President Barack Obama and Michelle Obama are scheduled to attend the concert.

The singer issued an apology Friday after a pair of America-bashing incidents became public.

At a 2004 protest concert, he rapped lyrics that The Washington Post translated as: "Kill those (expletive) Yankees who have been torturing Iraqi captives. Kill those (expletive) Yankees who ordered them to torture. Kill their daughters, mothers, daughters-in-law, and fathers. Kill them all slowly and painfully." MTV News reports that instead of "Yankees," PSY actually rapped "bitches."

The graphic lyrics were not PSY's own, but from the song "Dear American," by South Korean metal band N.EX.T. 

PSY performed the song as part of a protest concert after a South Korean missionary and translator, Kim Sun-il, was beheaded by members of an Islamist group after South Korea refused to cancel plans to send more troops to Iraq and withdraw those already there.

At an earlier concert, in 2002, PSY smashed a model of an American tank, Korean media sources say, protesting the acquittal of two U.S. military men who were involved in an accident that killed two South Korean teenagers.

"As a proud South Korean who was educated in the United States and lived there for a very significant part of my life, I understand the sacrifices American servicemen and women have made to protect freedom and democracy in my country and around the world," PSY said in an apology statement given to NBC News.

"The song I was featured in — eight years ago — was part of a deeply emotional reaction to the war in Iraq and the killing of two Korean schoolgirls that was part of the overall antiwar sentiment shared by others around the world at that time. 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 by those words."

PSY's statement went on to say, "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. While it's important we express our opinions, I deeply regret the inflammatory and inappropriate language I used to do so. In my music I try to give people a release, a reason to smile. I have learned that through music, our universal language, we can all come together as a culture of humanity and I hope that you will accept my apology."


But his apology may not satisfy American fans. TNT confirmed to NBC News Friday that PSY is scheduled to perform at the annual "Christmas in Washington" holiday concert.

The event will be taped Sunday for broadcast on TNT Dec. 21. The Obamas and other Washington notables are scheduled to attend. Conan O'Brien hosts the concert, and Diana Ross, Demi Lovato and Scotty McCreery are also scheduled to perform. PSY is scheduled to close out the concert with what TNT calls "a special performance." Proceeds from the concert benefit benefit the Children’s National Medical Center.

A short-lived petition urging that PSY be removed from the concert lineup was posted to whitehouse.gov, but the petition is no longer live, and a message on the site says it was pulled for violating the site's terms of participation.
PSY's song "Gangnam Style," about the lifestyle in an affluent section of Seoul, exploded in popularity in recent months, has more than 900 million hits on YouTube, and has been parodied numerous times as its fame grew.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, the single has earned PSY, 34, more than $8 million.
Born in the Gangnam District of Seoul that his song makes famous, PSY briefly studied at Boston University and Berklee College of Music. His birth name is Park Jae-sang, but he told TODAY.com in September that his singing name comes from the word "psycho," adding that to him, it means an expert in something, such as music and dancing.
 
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