Kenny G is known for his smooth jazz but relations with China might be a bit bumpier after appearing at a pro-democracy protest in Hong Kong earlier this week. And his attempts at damage control has only added to the vitriol towards him.
For some unknown reason, since its release the saxophonist's 1989 song "Going Home" has been played in China's public spaces at the end of every work day to tell people to do just that. He's an icon there. So it was a big deal when the saxophonist decided to stop by the ongoing pro-democracy protests this week.
The Guardian reports Kenny G showed up at Occupy Central on Wednesday, Oct. 22, which riled Chinese authorities. The visit also seemed to coincide with some semblance of dialogue between student leaders of the pro-democracy movement and government officials. The meeting was the first meeting between both sides and broadcast live.
On Wednesday, Kenny G tweeted the following which has since been deleted. "In Hong Kong at the sight of the demonstration. I wish everyone a peaceful and positive conclusion to this situation." The tweet also included a picture of the singer making a victory sign in front of a poster which said "Democracy of Hong Kong." A screen grab of the tweet is below:
Although China blocks Twitter, news of the tweet eventually reached various authorities and was met with a quick and strong condemnation of the artist's tweet. "Kenny G's musical works are widely popular in China, but China's position on the illegal Occupy Central activities in Hong Kong is very clear," China's ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said during a news briefing. "We hope that foreign governments and individuals speak and act cautiously and not support the Occupy Central and other illegal activities in any form."
Kenny G then took to his Twitter and Facebook accounts to deny that he supported the protesters.
The Facebook post was met with criticism by some fans who responded beneath his post. "Don't worry Kenny," Andy Yip wrote. "The money from China will keep coming. The jobs from China will keep coming, because you're exactly the type of people they like... People with no souls." Meanwhile another user, Pazu Kong, was harsher. "Nobody will blame you for being a coward, good luck for your career in China," Kong wrote. "You just successfully pissed off both sides."
According to his official site Kenny G has string of dates in New York City at the Blue Note. The musician released his last studio album Namaste in 2012.