Controversy surrounded Russia when people learned of the country’s anti-gay laws, and everyone from Olympians themselves to bands like Pussy Riot, and even to our own commander-in-chief, President Barack Obama, showed immense disapproval toward the government’s prejudice. After many have spoken up about the issue, it feels like things have settled down. However, drag star Courtney Act created a music video to address homophobia, refusing let the issue drop.
Act, who was formerly on Australian Idol and was recently chosen as a contestant for Season 6 of RuPaul’s Drag Race, created a video titled To Russia With Love, to draw more attention to the anti-gay propaganda laws in Russia and to generally embrace the LGBT community.
Although I’m not sure whether or not I could go for a run with this song on my iPod playlist anytime soon, the message made in the video is pretty straightforward, simple and definitely on point. Act is seen pictured wearing a red ensemble and something not unlike a black, Russian Cossack hat, while the video moves back and forth between the drag star and a scene of a gay couple on an outing together. Act also dons a red bra and underwear along with something that looks like a matching cape, which doesn’t quite seem necessary, but is still attention grabbing anyway.
The overall sound of Act’s work is somewhat catchy and parts of the song are reminiscent of European club music, which isn’t actually a bad thing (to me at least). Act’s message is probably most obviously cemented in these lines:
“Feel two hearts beating
Bullets dance I’m needin
You all over me I need you all over me
Makin love on a train in Moscow
French kiss on the steps of the Kremlin
Getting freaky in Leningrad
We are lovers we are lovers
To Russia with love”
When I first listened to the song, I questioned how tasteful this was, considering I wouldn’t exactly use the word “freaky” to pose such an important argument that homosexuality should be accepted. However, it’s clear that Act is using these strong images to point out that, hell, if you want to French kiss someone of the same sex on the steps of the Kremlin, then you should be able to. I probably wouldn’t recommend anyone of any sexual orientation to make love on a train for fear of breaking some sort of law preventing such, but if for some reason that were to happen, I agree that sexual orientation shouldn’t be an issue in the matter. But seriously, everyone, just don’t have sex on a train… or a plane for that matter because that’s just unsanitary.
So while I don’t really see this becoming a Billboard hit in the near future, or at all for that matter, I applaud Act’s effort to shed light on a significant issue that isn’t just occurring in Russia. And, though I appreciate Act’s bold outfit choices and singing, the highlight of the video is really the cute couple.
Although I wouldn’t say the storyline here was executed quite as well as something like we’ve seen in Macklemore and Ryan Lewis’s Same Love, because that was especially heartwarming, seeing the two men enjoy their relationship in peace as Act suggests should be the case for all couples in the world, gives me warm fuzzies. So for someone who doesn’t make music videos frequently, Act's work commenting on such a hot topic in To Russia With Love should be praised.