Even after his performance was sabotaged by Moscow police, U.S. rapper Mykki Blanco has a soft spot for Russia, and his experience there spotlights the reverse side to the antigay authoritarian portrayal of the country that we’re so used to hearing about.
Mykki, an openly gay man who performs with a transgender stage persona, was set to perform at a club called Solyanka. Just hours before his appearance, police shut the club down. For good.
Solyanka has played regular host to acts that have ruffled the feathers of right wing groups, and the closure is just one more blow to Moscow’s young, diverse LGBT community.
But despite the constant pressure from officials and thugs, that same community finds room to thrive.
Mykki ended up finding another place to perform that night, and posted a response a few days later. He talks about this other side of Russia, reminding us that there is plenty to be inspired by there:
When I think of Russia I think of the secret gay house parties I have been too [sic] kissing boys drunk on vodka and caviar… I think of smoking weed in the Siberian forests and stumbling drunk in the Russian ghetto’s with my straight male friends. I think of going to the underground Russian gay clubs packed with muscle bound men in skin tight shirts and emo twinks softly gyrating to ear splitting trance.. seeing 6’3 Glam Queens perform in thigh high boots and polyester wrap dresses like a Pre-Aids New York I never experienced.
Russia is more to me than Moscow and I feel for Moscow because of how misunderstood that city is… really maybe I love Russia so much because I can relate to its ‘outsider status’…
I see in Russia pieces of myself and through self love I in turn love Russia.”
Mykki is no stranger to traveling to potentially hostile parts of the world.
Earlier this year he was arrested in Portugal following and claimed it was over a homophobic dispute with a police officer.