A Ukrainian by any other … color?

When I first heard “Be My Guest”, sung by Ukrainian singer Gaitana at the Eurovision Song Contest 2012 second semifinal, I thought it sounded like something you’d hear at a gay pride festival, and I mean that kindly. Not only did the song have a boppin’ dance beat to it and the singer sounded a little like Patti Labelle, the lyrics were all about welcoming everyone to “Be my friend/You are free to live your life/To share your love with the world.” It sure sounded like a gay anthem to me.

I looked Gaitana up on Wikipedia and learned her nomination to represent Ukraine was a controversial one due to her mixed ethnicity: her mother is Ukrainian and her father is Congolese. Far right nationalist Svoboda Party senior member Yuriy Syrotyuk took exception to her ethnicity, saying that Gaitana, “… who represents another race, will provoke an association of Ukraine as a country of a different continent.” (source)

Fortunately, most Ukrainians have come to her defense, including boxer Vitaliy Klitschko and singer Marichka Burmaka. Gaitana said the fuss has given her a new mission: “… to show to the whole world that Ukraine is open, that everyone can come and stay here without any fear, whatever race he is, whatever language he speaks. Be our guest.”

I have no idea if she feels that way about the gay community (surely, such a fierce diva has plenty of gay fans), but I wish her the best of luck in the Eurovision final.

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