Amid all of the controversy surrounding the Sochi Olympics, Norwegian pop singer Annie has decided to add her voice to the mix. She’s teamed up with New York-based artist Bjarne Melgaard and director Richard Kern to create “Russian Kiss,” a protest video that aims to challenge the Putin administration’s stance on LGBT rights and encourage people to boycott this year’s Olympic games. The video is a little heavy-handed, but the song itself is great: a slow-building, slick Euro-pop jam that sounds like it could be a leftover from last year’s excellent A&R EP. Watch the video and read a statement about the project below.
RUSSIAN KISS: ANNIE FEAT. BJARNE MELGAARD (DIR. RICHARD KERN)
The statement about the video:
The Winter Olympics are not just skating styles, waxing techniques and jump lengths. The Winter Olympics are also deep emotions: interpersonal, national, and global. Millions of TV-viewers are witness to these emotions. Usually, they find their expression in embraces and kisses. You can observe this at the finishing area and during the medal ceremony — teammates embracing each other, winners kissing their partners.
This may be difficult when the Olympic Games take place in Sochi in February. As we know, Vladimir Putin has introduced laws prohibiting gays and lesbians to show their love in public in Russia. Furthermore, it is prohibited to talk positively about homosexuality in public. This is the reason why an increasing number of leaders worldwide have decided to boycott this year’s Olympics. In Norway, the political leadership has rejected calls to remain at home. As a great power in winter sports Norway is in a unique position to flex its muscles in a situation like this. This could have been an occasion for Norway to stand up for the fundamental right to express your feelings towards the one you love.
In Norway, many gays and lesbians — and not only gays and lesbians — have reacted against this. One of them is one of Norway’s best-known elite artists: The New York-based artist Bjarne Melgaard (http://stabfrenzy.com/). Therefore, at the beginning of December, together with the Norwegian songwriter and performer Annie (http://anniemelody.com/), he took the initiative to Russian Kiss: a short movie about the right to kiss one’s beloved — regardless of sexual orientation — wherever one likes.
Melgaard invited the photographer and director Richard Kern – http://www.richardkern.com/ – to direct the movie; famous for his collaborations with Marilyn Manson, Sonic Youth, Indochine and Is Tropical. On short notice Kern and his team joined forces with Annie and Melgaard.
The result is “Russian Kiss” – a critical cry from Norwegian and American elite performers — albeit not from the Olympic disciplines.