Claire Boucher, the Montreal electro-pop artist who works professionally as Grimes, has taken to Tumblr to defend her decision to play a private show in Moscow, amid Twitter-based criticism of her decision to do so.
“No, I do not feel bad about it,” blogged the Juno-winning musician. “I don’t think that denying and ignoring the gay community in Russia is cool.”
In June, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a law outlawing providing “propaganda of non-traditional sexual relations” to children, threatening so-called offenders with prison sentences, hefty fines or, in the case of foreigners, deportation.
Boucher was born in 1988, three years after guitarist Steven Van Zandt and record producer Arthur Baker formed Artists United Against Apartheid, a star-studded group opposed to racial segregation in South Africa. The musicians involved (including Bruce Springsteen, Miles Davis, Bob Dylan, Herbie Hancock, Ringo Starr, Lou Reed, Run DMC, U2, Peter Gabriel, Bobby Womack, Keith Richards, Bonnie Raitt, Jimmy Cliff, Gil-Scott Heron and Pete Townshend) vowed not to play the South African casino-resort Sun City.
In a Tumblr post titled “response to Twitter criticisms of the show in Russia,” Boucher stated her belief that a performance boycott of Russia “doesn’t hurt the government,” and that her refusal to play there only adversely affects “regular people.”
Boucher’s performance in Moscow is a private event, not a concert open to the public. A Canadian-based publicist with the British label Beggars Group, which distributes albums for the Montreal-based Artbus label to which Grimes is signed, was not aware who had hired her for the show.
The Vancouver-born indie musician created a stir a year ago when she posted a manifesto on Tumblr that addressed what she saw as sexist attitudes in pop culture and the music industry. “I don’t want to be molested at shows or on the street by people who perceive me as an object that exists for their personal satisfaction,” Boucher wrote. “I don’t want to have to compromise my morals in order to make a living.”