Did Obama go 'Gangnam?'
December 10th, 2012
10:12 AM ET
10 years ago

Did Obama go 'Gangnam?'

(CNN) – Anyone hoping to see President Barack Obama launch into this year's dance fad will have to keep waiting.

When the commander-in-chief met Korean pop star PSY at Sunday's "Christmas in Washington" charity concert, the pair exchanged a handshake and a greeting – but not a boogie.

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PSY, who performed his hit "Gangnam Style" wearing festive red sequins, has been at the center of controversy this week after video surfaced of him spouting anti-American lyrics in 2004.

The lyrics of the song, titled "Dear America," were written by the South Korean rock band N.E.X.T., and PSY was one of three performers rapping out the lyrics on stage.

CNN was able to translate the lyrics as saying," Kill those f–ing Yankees who have been torturing Iraqi captives and those who ordered them to torture," and going on to say, "Kill them all slowly and painfully," as well as "daughters, mothers, daughters-in-law and fathers."

In an apology, PSY said his performance had been emotionally charged and was a response to events in the war in Iraq.

"I understand the sacrifices American servicemen and women have made to protect freedom and democracy in my country and around the world," he said in a statement.

He said the song "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 anti-war sentiment shared by others around the world at that time."

The girls were struck and killed by a U.S. military vehicle.

PSY continued: "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."

The concert Sunday also featured Motown legend Diana Ross and Broadway singer Megan Hilty. The event raised money for the Children's National Medical Center in Washington, and airs on CNN's sister station TNT Saturday, December 21 at 8 p.m. ET.

In short remarks at the end of the concert, Obama mentioned Ross, as well as the event's host Conan O'Brien, but did not refer to PSY by name. He said the concert was a "chance to get in the Christmas spirit; to spread some joy and sing along with artists who have much better voices than we do."

Filed under: President Obama
soundoff (80 Responses)
  1. Jojola

    Unlike republican TPs, at least PSY had the decency to apologize for spewing hate.

    December 10, 2012 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  2. Gregory St.James Mundy

    Instead of speaking out about what PSY said ,we should be speaking out about our government that is still torturing an killing people in Guantanamo . In a country that is based upon justice and rights for all, how can we sit by as people are waterboard and held in prisons for over ten years and are denied their right to trail. It has been over ten years since 911. Sadam Hussein has been tried and executed, but none of these people have been tried could it be because the charges against them are just as false as the lies of weapons of mass destruction. Why else would they not be tried by now unless the only evidence against them are the same CIA lies. This is what you should be ashame of, not a singer who spoke the truth about us. Why haven't we closed down Guantanamo?

    December 10, 2012 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  3. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    So, I washed my comment down and GOPers still want to argue their "I'm in the right – your in the wrong" points. Whatever. CNN got what it wanted by posting the article.
    "washed my comment down" that got to me Lynda because when I find myself doing that I just don't post.
    Ever notice how we are all kept in our respective "boxes" on this site? I guess it is CNN's way to 'keep the Party going' so to speak.
    I went off topic. I know what you mean with these rightwing nutjobs.. Like I posted last week, we seem to have better luck getting through to them with disdain and derision because they sure block out the truth.

    December 10, 2012 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  4. John

    May be I am not understanding very well. I am a veteran from the US Army. Can't find a jod despite the fact that I have a graduate degree. I downgraded to accept even a G5 level job. one of my applications was accepted, I received a welcome letter from the agency. the next step was to check my background, it is been more than 5 months i do not know what is wrong, I have an acticve secret clearance. As a veteran to have a small governnent job I am blocked without any reason, in the name of background check, and I know deep that my background is very clean. But this guy get the invitation to sing in front of our Commender in Chief without background chec.. I signed for him not to be accepted to perform and i was shocked to find out that he did. i really do not know what to say any more. help me America

    December 10, 2012 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  5. Lynda/Minnesota

    Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Like I posted last week, we seem to have better luck getting through to them with disdain and derision because they sure block out the truth.

    Not sure if you'll get this message today but I agree. I like to coin it amused contempt. They amuse me by tickling my "contempt bone". Nothing more, nothing less.

    December 10, 2012 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
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