Just a couple of days after apologizing for using inflammatory, anti-American lyrics at a 2004 concert, South Korean Internet sensation Psy sang—what else—his smash hit “Gangnam Style” for President Obama and his family at the “Christmas in Washington” concert Sunday.
Dressed in red pants and a festive sparkly red sweater, Psy helped the crowd get into the holiday spirit by tweaking the refrain; instead of “Oppan Gangam style!” he sang “Oppan Christmas style!” The signature horse dance, however, stayed the same.
But behind the scenes, the 34-year-old rapper, whose real name is Park Jae-sang, continued to be apologetic about the words he sang at the protest concert nearly a decade ago. “If it’s gonna hurt my career or not, that’s not important,” he said before hitting the stage. “The most important thing is that as a human being, I really, fully regret the using of [those] kinds of words.”
More on the controversy from The Washington Post:
In 2002, Psy punctuated a performance by smashing a model of a U.S. Bradley Fighting Vehicle. The gesture was a response to an accident in which a U.S. military vehicle struck and killed two teenage girls outside of Seoul. In 2004, he performed “Dear American,” a song by South Korean metal band N.E.X.T. that called for the killing of U.S. soldiers and their families.
“There was huge sorrow all over the country,” Psy says of that time, when outrage over the U.S. military presence in South Korea was hot and widespread. “Explain and express about the sorrow .?.?. I thought that’s kind of part of my job .?.?. But the specific words that I used, it was too much.”
He has more perspective today. He’s since become a husband, a father of twin girls, and has even served in the South Korean military. “After that eight, nine years, I have been changed a lot.”
Other performers included Motown legend Diana Ross, pop singer Demi Lovato and “American Idol” winner Scott McCreery. Conan O’Brien hosted the concert for the second straight year.
You can watch “Christmas in Washington” on Dec. 21 at 8 p.m. on TNT.
—Posted by Tracy Bloom.
Psy performing his hit “Gangnam Style” at a concert in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., on Saturday.