Entertainment » Music

Pop Singer Annie Releases Pro-Gay/Anti-Putin ’Russian Kiss’ Video

by Jason St. Amand
National News Editor
Friday Feb 7, 2014

Norwegian pop singer Anne Lilia Berge Strand, better know as simply Annie, released a new music video/protest song, called "Russian Kiss" Friday after teasing the song earlier this week, PopJustice reports.

In the video, a number of same-sex couples lock lips while Annie sings pro-gay lyrics in a monotone over hypnotic indie-pop beats.

"Shake a fist for the Russian kiss," goes the track's chorus. "Don't give up / maybe then they can understand / it is right that you fight for your love demands," Annie sings.

"Show your love for the lovers, the others, the fighters, outsiders / people like you," she sings as same-sex couples make out.

The video features Bjarne Melgaard, an acclaimed and controversial Norwegian New York-based artist and was directed by Richard Kern, who also kisses a man in the video. The track's artwork and the song itself, appear to be inspired by Chicago-House producer Lil Louis' 1989 jam "French Kiss." PopJustice notes "Russian Kiss" was produced by longtime Annie collaborator, Richard X.

The clip instructs viewers to visit www.russiankiss.org, which explains more about Annie's new video.

"The Winter Olympics are not just skating styles, waxing techniques and jump lengths. The Winter Olympics are also deep emotions: interpersonal, national, and global. Millions of TV-viewers are witness to these emotions," the website reads. "Usually, they find their expression in embraces and kisses. You can observe this at the finishing area and during the medal ceremony - teammates embracing each other, winners kissing their partners.

"As we know, Vladimir Putin has introduced laws prohibiting gays and lesbians to show their love in public in Russia. Furthermore, it is prohibited to talk positively about homosexuality in public," the site continues. "This is the reason why an increasing number of leaders worldwide have decided to boycott this year's Olympics. In Norway, the political leadership has rejected calls to remain at home. As a great power in winter sports, Norway is in a unique position to flex its muscles in a situation like this. This could have been an occasion for Norway to stand up for the fundamental right to express your feelings towards the one you love.

"In Norway, many gays and lesbians - and not only gays and lesbians - have reacted against this.... The result is 'Russian Kiss' - a critical cry from Norwegian and American elite performers - albeit not from the Olympic disciplines," the site reads.

The track is available to download on iTunes, and portions of the proceeds will be donated to www.AllOut.org.

Annie is probably best known for her single "Heartbeat." Last year, she released a stellar EP called "The A&R EP," with all five songs produced by Richard X.

This article is part of "Sochi-ology," an EDGE special report series chronicling the social and political events surrounding Winter Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia. Visit the full list of Sochi-ology stories here.

Watch the sexy "Russian Kiss" below:


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