Kanye West is the latest pop musician to entertain an ethically dodgy audience: the rapper recently performed at a wedding for the grandson of Kazakhstan president Nursultan Nazarbayev for a reported sum of $3 million. Kazakhstan is not one of the most politically sound countries in the world right now, and its government’s violent tactics have been called out by Human Rights Watch. The country’s uncomfortable present is one of the reasons Sting turned down an offer to perform for the Kazakh government in 2011, and you’d think West would’ve followed suit given his occasionally political songwriting. But his appearance is just another in a long, long list of jaw-dropping musical moments. Below, we round up some of the most questionable, violent, attention-grabbing performances of the past century.
Jennifer Lopez in Turkmenistan
Vulture’s Kanye write-up immediately mentions Jennifer Lopez, who raised eyebrows this summer after singing “Happy Birthday” to Turkmenistan dictator Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov. Lopez apologized after criticism from human rights organizations, but kept the cool $10 million she allegedly earned from the appearance. This is not the first time Lopez has sacrificed ethics for a paycheck: in 2006, she put on another million-dollar birthday show for black market tycoon Telman Ismailov, which earned her the ire of none other than Pussy Riot.