He’s the Ukraine star who performed the enigmatic song “Under the Ladder” at Eurovision 2018. But at yesterday’s Atlas Weekend festival, MELOVIN had a very clear message. The singer came out as a member of the LBGTQ community by finishing his performance kissing a woman then a man and proudly waved the LGBTQ rainbow flag.
The former X Factor Ukraine champion performed at the popular Atlas Weekend festival, back after being postponed in 2020. At the end of MELOVIN’s set, he took off his keytar and planted a smooch on the Ukraine model Margarita Verhovtseva — herself a member of the LGBTQ community.
MELOVIN then turned and walked towards a man on stage, grabbed him and delivered a passionate kiss. The gothic performer held the pride flag up while tunefully singing “Yeaaaaaah!”
Broadcaster cuts away from MELOVIN’s coming out
But there was a downside to his bold act. While the concert was broadcast live on Ukraine music channel M1, the broadcaster cut away and did not show the kisses. As well, while M1 has uploaded many clips from Atlas Weekend to its YouTube channel, the end of MELOVIN’s performance is missing.
Instead, MELOVIN uploaded a fan’s footage of the event to his Instagram account.
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In the post, MELOVIN wrote:
“We are a strong people. We are not afraid to move forward, feel the rhythm of time and keep up with other democracies. But this movement is hindered only by the old crypts, which I observed today.
“My official coming out, which took place on the stage, was cut from the M1 live broadcast. My video is still not uploaded to YouTube. And all because I showed my essence. For me, it does not matter colour, faith or gender, because you need to love a person, body, soul…
“And at the same time such love is not recognized by anyone, blocked and simply not aired. Should the struggle for one’s rights and freedoms be censored? If not, I unequivocally support you. And if so, I’m not sure I want to exist in such a future for Ukraine.”
The comments under his post were supportive, with many Ukraine fans saying how proud they were of MELOVIN and how disappointed they were with M1.
Ukraine’s Eurovision 2013 star Zlata Ognevich — who also performed at Atlas Weekend — posted on her Instagram stories: “Mel! I support you! Freedom to be yourself is the greatest value!!!”
View this post on Instagram
M1 says the censorship was unintentional
Following an outcry from both the singer and his fans, M1 released a statement, explaining that they weren’t censoring him — they simply didn’t know that the kiss was going to happen. Writing on Facebook, the broadcaster said:
“We are all sorry that such an important moment of the artist’s statement did not get into the live broadcast. It’s a shame that the channel team wasn’t informed about the planned moment and the broadcast continued on traditional broadcast principles — switching activity, changing locations and participants for greater dynamics and vibrancy of the frame.”
MELOVIN’s kisses joins a history of same-sex kisses in music performances. At the 2003 MTV VMAs, Madonna shared kisses with Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera. At the 2009 American Music Awards, Adam Lambert kissed a male band member. Last week at the BET Awards, rapper Lil Nas X kissed a male dancer.
Eurovision acts have also puckered up. At Eurovision 2015, Lithuania’s Monika & Vaidas shared a kiss together, as did their two male backing singers and two female backing singers. Last week, Måneskin‘s Damiano David and Thomas Raggi kissed on stage in Poland in the name of LGBTQ rights.