The chaos unleashed by the Junior Cally affair isn’t subsiding. The rapper — whose real name is Antonio Signore — has been accused of misogyny for the lyrics of the song “Strega” from 2017.

“Her name is Gioia, but she drinks then swallows
She dances half naked, then she fucks with you.
She’s called Gioia because she’s a slut
Yes, to Mom and Dad’s delight.
This girl, bro, doesn’t know what she’s saying
Holy shit, how much fucking talk is that?
I killed her, I ripped her purse off…
and then I covered my mask with it.”

Politicians, the RAI presidency and the Liguria region have officially requested the disqualification of the singer. At the moment, however, host and artistic director of Sanremo 2020 Amadeus remains adamant about his choice and has strenuously defended the artist: Junior Cally remains in the competition.

Levante and Francesco Gabbani, who previously defended their colleague, have been joined by two other artists competing in Sanremo.

“In love with freedom, let’s leave the power of provocation to music #nocensorship,” Irene Grandi wrote on her social profiles, tagging all the artists of the Campioni category. Among those who answered was Anastasio, who commented on Facebook: “I agree”.

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#nocensura ? #sanremo2020 Innamorata della libertà, lasciamo alla musica il potere della provocazione. @anastasio_quello @pieropelufficiale @elodie @elettramiuralamborghini @giordanaangi @diodatomusic @raphael.gualazzi @francescogabbani @albertourso_official @marcomasini_official @enriconigiotti @michelezarrilloofficial @toscadonati @achilleidol @morganofficial @b_u_g_o @francescosarcina_official @levibrazioniofficial @levanteofficial @juniorcally @paolojannacci @pinguini_tattici_nucleari @rancore_official @about_riki @sanremorai #Sanremo2020 #IreneGrandi #Sanremo #Anastasio #PieroPelù #Elodie #ElettraLamborghini #GiordanaAngi #Diodato #RaphaelGualazzi #FrancescoGabbani #AlbertoUrso #MarcoMasini #EnricoNigiotti #MicheleZarrillo #RitaPavove #Tosca #AchilleLauro #Morgan #Bugo #LeVibrazioni #Levante #JuniorCally #PaoloJannacci #PinguiniTatticiNucleari #Rancore #Riki

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On January 25th Junior Cally issued his first public statement, which was published in a series of stories on his Instagram profile. The 29-year-old rapper said:

“I’ve been thinking for a few days about what’s happening around me. What is happening is that a lot of people have felt offended by some lyrics I composed in the past and by the images that accompanied them. I tried to explain that it was another time in my life and that rap has a descriptive language for better or for worse and represents the raw reality as if it were a film.”

“Unfortunately, a lot of people, maybe approaching rap for the first time, felt hurt. I deeply regret it, it was not and never will be my intention to hurt anyone. The most important thing I want to reiterate is that the music gave me hope and saved my life at a time when I had a lot of problems and it’s just the music I want to bring on the Sanremo stage. That’s why I proposed to Amadeus a song that doesn’t have those lyrics and images, that won’t have the word ‘Explicit’ next to it.”

Finally, the artist from Rome hit back against accusations of misogyny: “I find the idea of violence against women in all its forms unbearable. I am a boy, a man who makes respect, not only of women, but for human beings one of his core values. My mother Flora is the most important person in my life and for some months now Valentina has been at my side: we are accomplices, friends, we love and respect each other. This is my life and I hope this will be my Sanremo.”

Maria De Filippi has also waded into the media storm that’s hit both Amadeus, who is accused of sexism, and Junior Cally.

The tv host, one of the most influential in Italy, defends her colleague and the artist in an interview with Il Corriere della Sera:

“It impresses me lately to consider how careful one has to be when talking, so as not to be misunderstood. I don’t think Amadeus is sexist or chauvinist. I think he has used the wrong words… Then if he invites a female journalist to Sanremo, it seems clear to me that he has no prejudice.”

On Junior Cally: “I had a case similar at Amici di Maria De Filippi with Skioffi [a rapper, contestant on the 19th edition of Amici, currently on air]. The jurors had judged him according to the songs he had brought, then all the previous ones came out… The explanations were not very different from Cally’s, he also said he was inspired by some scenes from movies. In the end he stayed: I think the artistic component counts.”

A new attack against Junior Cally comes from Loredana Bertè. The 69-year-old singer, an Italian rock icon who came fourth in Sanremo 2019 with “Cosa ti aspetti da me“, has published an appeal to journalists who will be present in the press room of Sanremo this year and will vote for the Critics’ Award.

The Critics’ Award is a secondary award of the Sanremo Festival, handed out since 1982 by the music press to the artist who receives a positive judgment of quality from professionals.

Since 1996 the award has been named after Eurovision 1977 and 1992 act Mia Martini — Bertè’s sister — who died the previous year, and who was the artist who had won the most prizes until then, as well as being the first ever winner.

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Chiedo ai giornalisti della Sala Stampa dell’Ariston di escludere, a priori, una possibile candidatura al “Premio della critica Mia Martini” di qualsiasi artista che promuova attraverso i suoi testi violenza fisica o verbale verso le donne o misoginia in generale. Mia sorella è stata per anni vittima di bullismo "verbale" e non credo che avrebbe mai voluto che il suo nome venisse associato a certi “soggetti” che andrebbero SQUALIFICATI (come avvenuto di recente e giustamente in un’altra trasmissione di successo) per istigazione alla violenza sulle donne e per il pessimo messaggio che arriva ai giovanissimi. Grazie ? #noalsessismo #noallaviolenzacontroledonne #noallamisoginia #sanremo2020 #festivaldisanremo2020 #redronnie @redronnieroxybar

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“I ask the journalists of the Ariston Press Room to exclude, a priori, a possible nomination for the ‘Mia Martini Critic’s Award’ any artist who promotes through his lyrics physical or verbal violence against women or misogyny in general. My sister has been a victim of ‘verbal’ bullying for years and I don’t think she would have ever wanted her name to be associated with certain ‘subjects’ that should be DISQUALIFIED (as happened recently and rightly in another successful tv show [the reference is to Italy’s Celebrity Big Brother 4]) for incitement to violence against women and for the bad message that reaches very young people. Thanks 💙
#nosexims #noviolenceagainstwomene #nomisoginy #sanremo2020 #festivaldisanremo2020”

It is not clear if Bertè is also referring to Marco Masini — winner of Sanremo in the Newcomers category in 1990 and the main one in 2004 — competing this year with the song “Il confronto”.

Back in 1995 Masini published the song “Bella stronza”, one of the greatest hits of his career. The song has heavy lyrics too, yet politicians did not foment any controversy against him.

I’d like to rip your whore clothes off…
and keep your legs open till morning.
But of our love so tender and so clean
I’d be left with nothing but a very long minute of violence…
so I’ll say goodbye to you… beautiful bitch.

Beautiful bitch you called the squad car that night…
And you wanted to put me in handcuffs
just because I’d lost my patience.”

Read more Italy Eurovision 2020 news here

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JustARandomUser
JustARandomUser
9 months ago

Right when this whole thing started I actually wondered when Marco Masini would have ended up getting dragged into this because of those lyrics, I hoped it wouldn’t happen but I apparently was a bit too optimistic. “Bella stronza” is actually an incredibly beautiful song and those lyrics are just taken out of context. Before calling him a misogynist too, just actually read a good translation of it. “Pretty bitch” doesn’t even make much sense just said like it, saying “bello stronzo!” about someone is just a way to say “what an ass*ole!”, in this case there’s a wordplay with… Read more »

poe-tay-toe-chips
poe-tay-toe-chips
9 months ago

I don’t think anyone can really judge whether these men are misogynists unless they are women or grew up experiencing misogyny and sexism.

Anyway, as someone who does personally experience misogyny and sexism, I read the lyrics and they still seem pretty bad and I’m inclined to say it’s a sexist song.

JustARandomUser
JustARandomUser
9 months ago

I’m a woman too and I know Masini’s music and find absolutely nothing wrong with those lyrics in particular. The singer’s intent in writing them and the song’s meaning are more than clear to anyone who doesn’t read them already prejudiced.

JustARandomUser
JustARandomUser
9 months ago

I wasn’t referring to you with my comment but to the people who would read it and immediately condemn him and probably go around spreading this thing.

Some people really are a bit too quick in their judgement and such a thing would be quite a dark stain on someone’s reputation, so I was just inviting them to actually think about it.

Joseph Mendy
Joseph Mendy
9 months ago

From what I’ve been seeing of recent, Sanremo can’t see to get anywhere without controversy or drama.

Denis
Denis
9 months ago

Everybody has a mother, that is not a defence. That is like racist defending themselves by saying “Im not racist, I know several black people”. For excuses that is the laziest one..
However rap is meant to provoke. And it’s a misogynistic world out there, unfortunately.

Polegend Godgarina
Polegend Godgarina
9 months ago

gosh ppl still don’t understand junior cally is a rapper and rap music has always been like that…. stop whinin now grandmas

Joseph Mendy
Joseph Mendy
9 months ago

That’s not very nice.

Joe
Joe
9 months ago

I mean…that’s a pretty broad generalization of a type of music with a long, diverse history.

Azaad
Azaad
9 months ago

Not all rap is misogynistic- to claim so is to simplify a diverse genre of music.

Ana
Ana
9 months ago

So if it was ”always like that” means it can’t change? Well f#ck that. Then it shouldn’t be played anywhere

Joe
Joe
9 months ago
Reply to  Ana

Rap is so diverse and has so many different subgenres. Yeah, some of it is misogynistic, but a lot of it has a ton of different things to talk about, be it important social issues or good-time party jams. You can’t listen to, say, Biggie, Common, Missy Elliott, and Beastie Boys all in a row and say they all sound exactly the same.

poe-tay-toe-chips
poe-tay-toe-chips
9 months ago

I have listened to a lot of rap music with lyrics that do not try to sympathize towards men who are violent towards women like this does.

Sun
Sun
9 months ago

You’re so typical. If he were bashing gay people, you wouldn’t say the same.

Denis
Denis
9 months ago

Funny. If he was homophobic and singing about being violent towards LGBT people would you still defend him and telling people to stop complaining?

poe-tay-toe-chips
poe-tay-toe-chips
9 months ago

His lyrics don’t even sound clever or thought provoking….even without the rampant misogyny, …I bet his lyrics and songs still probably aren’t that great anyway

JJ Abrahames
JJ Abrahames
9 months ago

anyway his current song is too political, we don,t need it in our contest

Joseph Mendy
Joseph Mendy
9 months ago
Reply to  JJ Abrahames

Agreed. Just looked at the lyrics and they are as disgusting and disrespectful as you would imagine.

Briekimchi
Briekimchi
9 months ago

People are going to have different opinions about whether artistic content should be censored etc. but actually, it’s not like it’s his submitted song that’s the problem, is it? Disqualification seems a bit unfair for something he wrote/performed three years before he entered the contest.

fly by
fly by
9 months ago
Reply to  Briekimchi

Vincent Bueno will go through hell like Jacques Houdek for being traditionalist, but this Junior will be fine even though he talked about extreme physical violence. Nice. His defence is “I have a mother” and “This is rap music”. Maybe it’s time to be stopped.

NickC
NickC
9 months ago
Reply to  fly by

I cannot believe you used the word tradionalist for being discriminatory. Slavery was also a tradition until people stood against opression. But I agree with you that hate speech is not free speech.

Jonas
Jonas
9 months ago
Reply to  fly by

By “traditionalist” you mean homophobic, right? It’s not like gay people only started existing recently. The two situations are not remotely similar.

fly by
fly by
9 months ago
Reply to  Jonas

It’s not like women only started existing recently, still killing them is free speech, everything under the ultimate protection : this is how rap works.

fly by
fly by
9 months ago

Never trust PC police. They have no mercy if the target would have been WURST, but in other context is “art”, “no censorship”. Really?
Out with this Junior Cally! No double standard.