Happy Birthday, Mr. Dictator. On Saturday night, Jennifer Lopez stirred up controversy by performing at an event in Turkmenistan where she sang "Happy Birthday" to authoritarian leader Gurbanguly Berdymukhammedov. According to Human Rights Watch, the former Soviet Republic's government is "among the most repressive in the world," with President Berdymukhammedov imprisoning and torturing citizens who have criticized his regime.
During the event hosted by the China National Petroleum Corporation, J.Lo performed her hit songs and shimmied away onstage at a lavish $2-billion resort on the Caspian Sea. According to the New York Times, she "graciously obliged" to sing to the country's dictator to celebrate his 56th birthday. The singer was reportedly paid $1.4 million for her performance — guess it's not true that "Love Don't Cost a Thing."
J.Lo is by no means the first celebrity to have performed in countries or for leaders with human rights violations. Beyoncé, Mariah Carey, Nelly Furtado, Usher, and 50 Cent have all performed at parties for family members of the oppressive Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi. Hilary Swank attended a birthday party for Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov, who has been "linked to a litany of horrific human rights abuses." For the most part, these celebrities apologized profusely when they learned that these leaders were connected to serious human rights violations, from brutal torture to acts of terrorism. They also donated their performance earnings to charity.
But some celebrities have shown no qualms about their associations with suspect political figures. Sean Penn, Oliver Stone, Danny Glover, and Kevin Spacey were never shy about their friendships with controversial Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez. Michael Jackson was close with and accepted money from Prince Abdullah al-Khalifa of Bahrain, whose family has quite a track record of human rights violations. Steven Seagal is a pal and supporter of Vladimir Putin, and he has allegedly signed on to be the face of Russian weaponry abroad. Seagal has also been known to defend Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov — yep, the same guy whose party Hilary Swank "deeply regrets" having attended.
Hey celebs, do the world a favor and make sure you've done some research before you legitimize brutal leaders who violate human rights. Thanks.
Follow Caroline on Twitter @carolinesb | Follow Hollywood.com on Twitter @Hollywood_com
More:Hilary Swank 'Regrets' Attending Chechen ConcertJennifer Lopez to Star in Chilean Miner Drama 'The 33' with Antonio Banderas'Unflattering' Jennifer Lopez Photo Sparks Controversy
From Our PartnersStars Pose Naked for 'Allure' (Celebuzz)20 Grisliest TV Deaths of 2012-2013 (Vulture)
Thought the raging house party-turned-teenage-riot in Project X was out of control? Wait until you near the pitch for the next big party movie — it's whole new level of debauchery.
The as-yet-untitled movie pitch 20th Century Fox just acquired focuses on the electronic dance music (EDM) scene and will involve one of EDM’s biggest artists, Diplo, Deadline reports. Diplo is an American DJ and music producer and has worked with M.I.A., Beyonce, No Doubt, and Usher, and comprises half of the Major Lazer duo.
Diplo and his business partner Kevin Kusatsu are teaming up with Underground to executive produce the movie that's being described as "8 Mile meets Project X in tone." It will follow three teenagers as they attempt to get into Diplo's electronic music festival.
So basically a grittier, louder, bigger party, with more naked women, drugs, and alcohol, higher stakes, and better music? Bring it on. We just hope entire city blocks don't get destroyed in this movie.
Follow Sydney on Twitter: @SydneyBucksbaum
More:New No Doubt Track Produced By Diplo
From Our Partners:Eva Longoria Bikinis on Spring Break (Celebuzz)33 Child Stars: Where Are They Now? (Celebuzz)
Get ready for some glitter.
Ke$ha, along with Usher, No Doubt, and Justin Bieber, will perform at the 40th annual American Music Awards on Sunday, Nov. 18. They will take the stage with previously announced acts Pink, Taylor Swift, Nicki Minaj, Christina Aguilera, Carrie Underwood, Pitbull and Linkin Park. More artists will be announced in the upcoming weeks.
This year's fan-voted event will make history with the introduction of the new category for Electronic Dance Music (popularly referred to as EDM). Nominees include DJ's/producers such as grammy-winning Skrillex, David Guetta, and Calvin Harris.
The AMA's will air live on ABC from L.A.’s Nokia Theatre at 8 p.m. ET/PT on Nov. 18. If you want to see the star-studded event in person, you can still buy tickets via Ticketmaster.
Follow Sydney on Twitter @SydneyBucksbaum
[Photo Credit: Dominic Chan/WENN]
'Real Housewives of Atlanta' Recap: Beware the New Bitch
‘Glee’ Casts Aisha Tyler As Mama Puckerman, But Who Else Needs Parents?
'The Walking Dead' Tragedy and 15 Other Moving TV Deaths
From Our Partners:
Katy Perry Moves Forward at Barack Obama Rally in Wisconsin (PHOTOS)
Russell Brand Talks Awkward Encounter With Ex-Wife Katy Perry and Addresses Geri Halliwell Dating Rumors (EXCLUSIVE) (Celebuzz)
UPDATE: Reports say that following the tirade, Billie Joe has checked into a rehabilitation center. Developing...
PREVIOUS: When Green Day's set was reportedly cut 20 minutes to make time for Usher at the iHeart Radio Festival in Las Vegas, frontman Billie Joe Armstrong had quite the reaction. Not only did he smash his guitar at the end of his band's set, but the singer inexplicably screamed "I’m not f------ Justin Bieber, you motherf------!" And that was just the tip of his intense tirade. Watch the whole NSFW meltdown take place here:
Additional reporting by Alicia Lutes
Follow Anna on Twitter @thebrandedgirl
Green Day Frontman Billie Joe Armstrong Rushed to the Hospital
Fiona Apple Makes Bizarre Statement After Arrest
Unhappy Hour: Lindsay Lohan's in Trouble... Again and 8 Other Reasons to Drink
Although most Holocaust-themed works present the Jews as victims this true story shows there were small bands who did manage to fight back no matter how difficult the challenge. Starting near the beginning of World War II the film focuses on three Jewish brothers who lead a small but effective resistance against the surging Nazi presence in the forests of Belarussia. Eldest brother Tuvia Bielski (Daniel Craig) returns home to find most of his family murdered. His only surviving siblings are his wild quick-tempered brother Zus (Liev Schreiber) prone to shoot first and ask questions later and his youngest brother Asael (Jamie Bell) whose gentle nature allows to him to act as a buffer between his two older siblings. Crux of the film is the conflict between Zus’ quest for revenge at any cost and Tuvia’s more measured desire to save lives. As they round up more and more Jewish outcasts the Bielskis form a community deep in the woods. But soon Tuvia must rise to the occasion and lead the 1 200 strong group deeper into hiding in order to survive the winter and the lurking Nazi threat. Daniel Craig gets back to his acting roots after two high-profile outings as 007. He’s strong resilient and complex as a man with a criminal past whose mettle is tested when he chooses to become an advocate for life over the prospect of turning into a killing machine. Schreiber is superb as well as the toughest of the brothers -- at least on the outside. His primal urge to survive at all costs by using whatever preemptive force is necessary is apparent throughout his well-detailed portrayal. And finally Bell who more than holds his own as the most innocent of the bunch and the one with the most to learn. Alexa Davalos Iben Hjejle and Mia Wasikowska add needed warmth and emotion as the three very different women or “forest wives ” with whom the brothers romantically bond during their years in hiding. Stand out in the enormous meticulously chosen cast is Mark Feuerstein as an intellectual and Viktor Panchenko as Isyyanov the leader of the People’s Army. Edward Zwick is known for intelligent historically based films like Glory The Last Samurai and Blood Diamond. Defiance follows suit shot on a rather large scale with lots of impressive action sequences buffering an intimate story. Zwick’s co-writer Clayton Frohman stumbled upon the Bielskis’ story while reading a newspaper obituary on one of them. Armed with exhaustive research and an unerring eye for authenticity the director does not present any of these characters as saints. They were flawed conflicted human beings caught up in a extraordinary situation which only highlights their indomitable determination and fortitude to walk out of that forest alive. James Newton Howard’s brilliant score with haunting violin solos from Joshua Bell deserve special mention among the talented artists who made Defiance come to life. This is a must-see movie and another towering cinematic achievement for Zwick his best since Glory.
The big-screen live-action adaptation mostly captures the look and feel of the ‘60s cartoon many of us grew up watching. It could have used a few more occurrences of our favorite line “Look out Speed! AH!” but oh well. As it goes Speed (Emile Hirsch) has grown up with motor oil pumping through his veins helping his Pops (John Goodman) make racecars and idolizing his older brother Rex (Scott Porter) a top-notch driver. Then tragedy strikes when Rex is seemingly killed in an accident. Heartbroken Speed is determined to take his place showing some serious skills on the track. His girlfriend Trixie (Christina Ricci) thinks he’s the bomb as do his mom (Susan Sarandon) younger brother Spritle (Paulie Litt) and pet chimpanzee Chim-Chim. But Speed is soon in for a rude awakening when he is introduced to the corrupt world of auto racing forcing him to team up with the mysterious Racer X (Matthew Fox) to make it right again. Go Speed go! The usually somber Hirsch--who is best known for his indie work in films such as Alpha Dog and Into the Wild--seems at first an odd choice to play Speed. But his seriousness works well against the campiness surrounding him especially in the more emotional moments. Same goes for Fox as the stoic Racer X. Still one can’t help but think of him as his Lost alter ego in a dark glasses and a mask. The rest of the cast just has way too much fun including Ricci as the cute-as-a-button-but-full-of-moxie Trixie Goodman as the blowhard Pops and especially young Litt as Spritle. Out of all Speed’s animated characters re-envisioned Litt does the best job capturing Spritle’s cartoon mischievousness. The monkey ain’t bad either. Chim-Chim AH! Oh those Wachowski brothers (Andy and Larry). They sure do like to come up with as many inventive ways to visually stimulate you as they can don’t they? Their Matrix series set CGI on fire--and now Speed Racer which quite literally takes you inside a video game the Wii or Xbox could only dream of ever creating. The film is virtual eye candy from start to finish--a mixture of Tim Burton-esque colorful sets wild adrenaline-filled special effects and constant camera movements. They may actually need to post a warning for those who suffer from motion sickness. However Speed’s main problem which is the same problem the Matrix franchise suffered from is its tendency to overanalyze the plot. The Wachowskis love to preach turning a scene about the racing world’s corrupt beginning into a 15-minute diatribe. They try to combine the campiness of the animated TV series with serious undertones but it only weighs the film down. You can feel the kids in the audience tapping their feet waiting for more action. So let’s just give the kids what they want: fast-paced excitement wrapped up in a colorful package.