Tijana Dapcevic denies rumours she refused to perform at Belgrade Pride, which Jelena Karleusa headlined

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After weeks of speculations that she had declined an invitation to perform at the Pride Parade in Belgrade, pop singer Tijana Dapcevic has written an official statement denying those claims. In fact, she says that she was not even invited to make an appearance.

A few days ago it was reported, without any justification, that I had allegedly refused to perform at the Pride Parade in Belgrade. I do not have anything to say on the matter of my refusal because it never happened. But I will answer those false claims, which aim not to gather clicks, but to hurt other people, with the following:

There are very few things in life that you cannot choose, and among those are: the place and date of birth, your parents, your blood type and your sexual orientation. There are, of course, those things that do not depend only on us, but they still at least offer some choice. One thing that one can choose for sure is if they are going to be HUMAN or not.

I try to choose everything very carefully. I chose Milan [her partner] long ago, and our Vuk [her child] we “chose” together. When it comes to the others, I choose those who will become my friends, and those who will remain only acquaintances. All my friends know, when we go out for a coffee, it does not matter where we are sitting, it does not matter if there is coffee in a cup — it can be empty too, but friendship cannot be so, regardless of who those friends are later going home to hug, a man or a woman. It does not interest me, as long as I see them smiling, happy and positive.

And I have always chosen to be on the side of those that are discriminated against, those that are misunderstood and outcast from their surrounding and that will never change, as long as they choose to be: human.

The Belgrade Pride Parade was held two weeks ago in the capital of Serbia. A day after that, Serbian media reported that the 41-year-old songstress had declined an invitation to sing for attendees, although she has previously expressed her support for the LGBT community in Serbia and in her native FYR Macedonia.

The reports claimed that Tijana feared that such a public statement would negatively affect her career in those two countries, where LGBT men and women face a number of challenges, both legally and socially. Fortunately, the situation has been improving significantly in recent years, even if there is still room for improvement.

Tijana represented FYR Macedonia at the contest in Copenhagen with the song “To the Sky“, but failed to qualify for the grand final. Her younger sister Tamara had previously sung for their country back in 2008, but also stalled in the semi.

Rewatch Tijana’s performance at Eurovision 2014

Tijana Dapcevic is currently one of the contestants in the fourth season of Tvoje lice zvuci poznato, the Serbian edition of Your Face Sounds Familiar. In the first episode, which was broadcast yesterday, she impersonated Zdravko Colic, probably the biggest pop star in the countries of the former Yugoslavia, who represented SFR Yugoslavia in the Eurovision Song Contest 1973.

In spite of all this, the Pride Parade did enjoy the support of another pop star.

Jelena Karleusa — one of the most talked-about stars in the region — headlined the event. A pop star and LGBT icon, Jelena has emerged as a vocal supporter of human rights in recent years — and deserved the honourific title of  ‘Godmother’ of this year’s Belgrade Pride Parade.

Karleusa was one of the speakers at the event’s opening ceremony.

If possible, I would like to go out in front, together with you. I am very proud to be here with you today. I am not a politician. I do not know how to give speeches. I do not have a paper that says something smart that I am supposed to say. I will do this the only way I know, and that is honestly and bravely, and as the singers would say, wholeheartedly, from the bottom of my heart.

I consider the fight for human rights a moral obligation of each and every one of us, especially of celebrities, who use their names, their fame to support what is called love, tolerance, and to fight against hatred, to fight for equality and human rights. To be born different cannot be the basis for an attack. I am a mother of two children and I have taught them that being human means to love, to respect.

The blonde diva admitted that her husband, football star Dusko Tosic, did not approve of her appearance at the parade, fearing for her safety.

My husband does not agree at all with me doing this. On the other hand, I believe he is proud to have such a brave wife, who is not afraid to stand publicly for what she believes in. He was taught that way. The consciousness of these matters comes from the family. You cannot change what you have been instructed all your life overnight… [and sometimes that] is intolerance and hatred for those that are different. But hey, I am here to change such a way of thinking.

Karleusa later joined the ‘walk of pride’ through the centre of Belgrade — and took her place at the very front of the line.

Karleusa has been rumoured as a potential representative of Serbia next year in Portugal, but no official statement has been made so far. She had previously expressed her interest in representing Serbia back in 2016, but she was unable to reach an agreement with Radio Television of Serbia.

Would you have been as brave as Jelena? And would you like to see Jelena at Eurovision 2018 in Lisbon? Let us know in the comments section below!

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