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Could Ugandan LGBTI rights dance anthem be 2018’s unexpected hit?

Written by gaytourism

Ugandan music artist Brayo Music (Photo: Supplied)

Rainbow Riots have chosen to take advantage of Digital Pride this week to unveil the video for its latest release.

Swedish dance music producer Petter Wallenberg launched Rainbow Riots in 2017. Wallenberg wanted to collaborate with musical artists in some of the world’s most homophobic countries.

The resulting album, simply titled Rainbow Riots, came out last summer. A beat-laden fusion of afrobeat, electro, soul, pop, rap and dancehall, it featured artists from Malawi, Jamaica and South Africa, but primarily Uganda.

‘Uganda was very notorious for its anti-gay bill, so I had to get out there and get to these places where LGBT people are really suffering, and that’s how the album developed,’ Petter told GSN last June.

We Need Love

The Rainbow Riots project has now grown into a global LGBTQ rights organization. Its latest release is the Pride anthem, We Need Love.

The video was filmed in Uganda and the song features local LGBT artist, Brayo Music.

In a statement about the song, Wallenberg and Brayo say ‘We Need Love is a song targeting hate and discrimination. The song is a direct message from the victims of hate and discrimination to the masses. As the lyrics explain, all we need is love, nothing less and nothing more.’

Petter Wallenberg and Brayo Music of Rainbow Riots

Petter Wallenberg and Brayo Music (Photo: Tania Marti)

‘I wanted to make music that would mean something and have a purpose’

Wallenberg told GSN that he has been blown away by the response to the Rainbow Riots album. It was covered by media outlets worldwide – including Indonesia and Jamaica, ‘two notoriously homophobic countries.

‘That feels like a testament to the power of music. I wanted to make music that would mean something and have a purpose, and this album truly has. The best thing about it is that it gives hope to people. After this I now get contacted everyday by LGBT people in the world feeling inspired to let their voices be heard.’

‘I am just tired of all the hate going around. It must stop’

Same-sex sexual activity is strictly illegal in Uganda. The LGBTI community there have no legal protections and live in fear of persecution.

Brayo Music told GSN what had inspired him to work with Rainbow Riots and create We Need Love.

‘Basic human rights, especially for the LGBTI community, are violated each and everyday here in Uganda. The hate has been normalized which is wrong.

‘It is very important to me to sensitize people that love is all that is needed – nothing less and nothing more. It is very important to raise these issues in order to bring about change. I am just tired of all the hate going around. It must stop.’

Does he fear that his participation in Rainbow Riots will have any comeback for him in his home country?

‘Of course. I am only human. I am always afraid of all the consequences of my actions and my involvement with Rainbow Riots and human rights at large. The fear of persecution and rejection.

‘But if we all gave into our fears, then who will be brave enough to raise these issues? How will ignorance be eradicated and how will equality, peace, unity, and tranquility prevail?​

‘The war for equal rights has not been won yet’

Wallenberg says he has developed a particular bond with LGBTI campaigners in Uganda.

‘I have been travelling to Uganda for the past three years and will continue to do so. It started out as a music project, but along the way it’s grown into something much bigger.

‘Me and my Ugandan collaborators are all close friends, and this doesn’t end with our first project being finished. The war for equal rights has not been won yet.’

Check out more Rainbow Riots video at its YouTube channel

See also

WATCH: Why this gay, Swedish dance producer went to Uganda to work with LGBTI music makers

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