The original lead singer for the Village People doesn't mind that his 1970s disco hit "Y.M.C.A." became a gay anthem, but he doesn't want it used to protest the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia.
With gay rights a hot-button issue for the upcoming Games, Victor Willis says he recently declined an invitation to appear in Russia and has similarly dismissed suggestions that he perform the tune as a rallying cry.
"If they want to use the song that way, go right ahead," Willis said in a statement. "But I think it's silly because the lyrics were written by me as an expression of urban youths having fun at the YMCA.
"The words were crafted by me to be taken any number of ways but not specific to gays," he said. "It's much broader than that. The song is universal."
The Russian government has drawn fire in recent months for adopting legislation that threatens to prosecute anyone who promotes "nontraditional sexual relations" in the presence of minors. Critics say the law effectively bans events such as gay rights parades.
With various groups vowing to protest, there has been speculation that athletes might show support by wearing gay rights pins on their uniforms or painting their fingernails in rainbow colors.
"Y.M.C.A.," which was released in 1978 as a single from the album "Cruisin'," has long been popular in sports arenas, where fans hold their arms over their heads to spell out the letters.
Willis believes that, politics aside, it would be a good fit for the Olympics.
"I would consider performing the song as part of the opening ceremonies," he said, "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."
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