Obama Meets Psy: Shakes Hands With Rapper Despite Controversy


President Barack Obama met and shook hands with South Korean rapper Psy at a holiday concert in Washington Sunday night. The U.S. President met with Psy despite controversy surrounding the singer's past songs which contained anti-American lyrics.

Psy had issued an apology to the United States for the lyrics of the song, which surfaced on the web last week. "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 his statement Friday.

The song in the midst of a controversy is called "Dear American" and was performed by Psy and South Korean metal band N.EX.T in 2004 at a concert in South Korea to protest the war in Iraq.

The song, which features lyrics such as "Kill Those Yankees who have been torturing Iraqi captives," wasn't written by Psy himself but by N.EX.T, according to reports.

"Kill thoseYankees who ordered them to torture/ Kill their daughters, mothers, daughters-in-law and fathersKill them all slowly and painfully," the lyrics say, according to a translation by the Washington Post. 

Psy talked about the song and lyrics in his statement, stating that he is deeply sorry for any pain his lyrics may have caused the Americans. "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."

He continued: "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 though music, our universal language we can all come together as a culture of humanity and I hope that you will accept my apology." 

Psy also performed at KIIS FM's Jingle Ball concert in Los Angeles, California Dec. 3.

The White House holiday special, called "Christmas in Washington" will be broadcast on TNT on December 21. 

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