High-profile hitmakers are lending their image to a music video calling for an end to violence against LGBT people in Brazil, where a gay or trans person is killed nearly once a day.
The video for “Igual” by Brazilian singer Yann features more than 25 artist, including Celine Dion, Britney Spears, Demi Lovato, and Lorde, as well as Nico Tortorelli, Lana Wachowski, and even John Waters.
“Unfortunately, most of the world isn’t aware that Brazil is an incredibly dangerous place for the LGBTI+ community,” says Yann. “It was important for me to help shine a stronger light on what’s happening here.”
Yann hopes the video, which he also directed, can change the narrative. Proceeds from the sale of “Igual” will benefit Brazil’s LGBT organizations in his homeland.
“Our plurality is awe-inspiring, so it would never be possible to represent every facet of our diversity,” he says of the queer community. “But I hope this song and the support from everyone involved bring more visibility for us to continue to fight towards changing the real situation of what’s being done to our community.”
Sao Paulo is home to one of the world’s largest Pride celebrations and Brazil passed marriage equality two years before the U.S. But ignorance and religious intolerance still fuel acts of hate in the country: In fact, more than 40% of all anti-LGBT violence in the world occurs in Brazil. Murders of gay and trans people are particularly gruesome—and including stonings, hangings and decapitations. In June 2015, the charred bodies of gay professors Edivaldo Silva de Oliveira and Jeovan Bandeir were discovered in the trunk of a burning car.
Earlier this year, Rio Mayor Marcelo Crivella declared homosexuality was caused by botched abortions: “We live off this image as an open and tolerant place,” says Jandira Queiroz of Amnesty International Brazil. “[But] homophobic violence has hit crisis levels and it’s getting worse.”
In October, a judge approved gay conversion therapy, overturning a 1999 decision by the Federal Council of Psychology that forbade the disproven practice.
“We’ve reached a point were religion and politics are now openly walking hand in hand, which can only lead to a horrifying outcome,” says Yann. “I needed to use my voice as an artist to help community.”