One of the early members of the Village People says he does not agree with using their iconic song Y.M.C.A as part of a pro-gay protest at the Sochi Winter Olympics.
According to the Huffington Post, some activists have suggested that the disco song be played when American athletes are introduced at the Games, to show support for LGBT rights in Russia.
Victor Willis, one of the co-writers of Y.M.C.A, has now come out against the idea, insisting that the song is not about gay people and that he would not perform it in support of gay rights.
“If [gay people] want to use the song that way, go right ahead, but I think it’s silly because the lyrics were written by me as an expression of urban youths having fun at the YMCA,” Willis told World Entertainment News Network (WENN).
“The words were crafted by me to be taken any number of ways but not specific to gays. It’s much broader than that. The song is universal. I don’t mind that gays think the song is about them but I won’t perform the song in support of any protest.”
He added: “But I would consider performing the song as part of the opening ceremonies and lead the stadium into the Y.M.C.A. dance as a show of world unity because that’s something I believe the world can relate to.”
Willis, however, is no longer part of the Village People, which continues to tour around the world. The current members issued a statement to the Post expressing their views on the issue.
“In light of recent, misleading news articles, we would like to clarify that Victor Willis has not performed with Village People for 35 years, and he is no longer associated with the group in any way,” said the band
“Though he successfully reclaimed a larger portion of his royalties as co-writer of some of the Village People catalog – including Y.M.C.A. – in a landmark copyright decision last year, he has no control of how, when or where we, the actual Village People, perform our music, which we continue to do, extensively, around the globe – most recently on New Year’s Eve in Tampa, Florida.
“We want to be very clear that we do not share the same beliefs as Victor Willis…intolerance has no place in this world…and it certainly Can’t Stop the Music,” said the group.
“Y.M.C.A. was released in 1978 and became a gay anthem thanks to its camp arm movements and its double entendre lyrics, apparently celebrating the YMCA youth centres as a place where young gay men could hook up with each other.