France’s Bilal Hassani brought more than his set of gorgeous wigs to Tel Aviv: he brought a self-penned anthem about his own journey to self-acceptance, which holds a message of hope and perseverance, especially for his LGBTQ listeners. With that in mind, the team from Wiwibloggs is pleased to announce that Bilal has won the 2019 Vision Music Award for LGBTQ Equality.
This award was founded in honour of Dana International, the Israeli transgender singer who won Eurovision in 1998. Conservatives at home asked Israel to withdraw from the contest, but she stood her ground and sang for all oppressed people en route to victory. The Wiwi Jury awards this prize to the contestant who did the most for the many LGBTQ fans who follow Eurovision. Activism is risky business, but the winner knows that doing what’s right is more important than bowing to the haters.
Bilal Hassani: The Dana International Award for LGBTQ Equality 2019
The lyrics of Roi speak of those who try to change Bilal, who is openly gay and adorns stunningly androgynous outfits, hair and makeup when he performs: “You put me in a box, want me to be like you. I don’t follow the codes, and it causes a stir. At the end of the day, you cannot change me, boo. So let me fly away”.
A song such as Roi serves to inspire a generation of Europeans, especially those who are LGBTQ or seen as different — cast your mind back to his dancers in Tel Aviv — to embrace their individuality and resist the haters. You can never remove his crown!
In the run-up to Eurovision, Bilal met with the LGBTQ community in Tel Aviv during his postcard shoot. He spent time with elderly members of the community, which shows his appeal extends beyond age, and thanked them for the impact they made on his generation of LGBTQ members.
He also met 20 young members of the community. During the meet and greet, Bilal explained the importance of “Roi” to his audience:
“The song “Roi”, which I will be performing at the Eurovision, talks about acceptance and self-love, and I am grateful that thanks to you, I can be myself, regardless of what others will say”.
In attendance was Tel Aviv-Yafo City Council Member Itay Pinkas, who spoke highly of the French star:
“Many are inspired by Bilal. He embodies perfectly the values of the Eurovision Song Contest: solidarity between people and nations, the love of art as music and the courage to share a different voice. In the name of the City and the Municipality, we are proud to welcome Bilal.”
Vision Music Awards 2019
This award is just one of a dozen awards we have launched as part of the Vision Music Awards 2019 (VMAs).
Our 13 categories — from best dressed to most wronged at ESC — identify the contestants who left the biggest impression on Eurovision fans, regardless of whether they won the contest or not.