Y.M.C.A. writer does not want song to become gay protest anthem of Sochi 2014

Wednesday, 01 January 2014
By Duncan Mackay

Village People's worldwide bestseller Y.M.C.A. has become a gay anthem ©Getty ImagesJanuary 1 - Village People's Y.M.C.A. should not become the anthem of activists protesting against Russia's controversial anti-gay propaganda law during Sochi 2014, the song's writer has claimed.

Protests against the law, introduced in June last year after being signed by Russian President Vladimir Putin, have so far overshadowed the build-up to next month's Winter Olympics and Paralympics.

Y.M.C.A has been suggested as an unofficial anthem for those against the law but the man who penned the lyrics claims that, contrary to popular belief, it was never written as a song for the gay community.

"If they want to use the song that way, go right ahead, but I think it's silly because the lyrics were written by me as an expression of urban youths having fun at the Y.M.C.A.," Victor Willis, the original lead singer of Village People, told World Entertainment News Network.

"The words were crafted by me to be taken any number of ways but not specific to gays.

"It's much broader than that.

"The song is universal.

"I don't mind that gays think the song is about them but I won't perform the song in support of any protest."

Village People is a group that formed in 1977 and is well known for their on-stage costumes depicting American cultural stereotypes to target disco's homosexual audience by featuring popular gay fantasy personas.

Y.M.C.A. was released in 1978 and quickly established itself as a gay anthem.

Y.M.C.A. is often played at major sports event, including London 2012 ©YouTubeY.M.C.A. is often played at major sports event, including London 2012 ©YouTube

But it is played at many sporting events in the United States and Europe, with crowds using the dance in which the arms are used to spell out the four letters of the song's title.

It became the unofficial anthem of the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta and was played twice daily during the athletics competition at London 2012, as well as at many other events.

Willis has claimed that he would be happy to perform the song, which has sold more than 10 million copies worldwide, during Sochi 2014 if he was asked by Russian officials.

"I would consider performing the song as part of the Opening Ceremonies and lead the Stadium into the Y.M.C.A. dance as a show of world unity because that's something I believe the world can relate to," said Willis, who recently regained legal ownership of the song following a long dispute.

"But I have only been asked to perform as part of a protest.

"And to that, I say, 'No'."

Contact the writer of this story at duncan.mackay@insidethegames.biz


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