A group of French musical artists came together to tackle homophobia with "De l'Amour" — which translates into "Of Love" — a song that is already topping the charts.
Proceeds from the song's sales will go to French charity Urgence Homophobie (Emergency Homophobia). The song tells the story of Azamat, a Chechen who was the charity's first gay refugee.
You can watch the music video below:
Urgence Homophobie - "De l'Amour" (clip officiel) youtu.be
The song is a collaboration between more than 70 French personalities, including Christiane Taubira, Marc-Olivier Fogiel, Elodie Frégé, Daphne Burki, Laurent Ruquier, Christophe Beaugrand, Zabou, Liliane Rovère and Stéfi Celma.
"They respond with 'love,'" Urgence Homophobie says on their website.
Among those who participated in the video was singer-songwriter Emmanuel Moire, who has released such acclaimed pop albums as (Là) où je pars and L'Équilibre and who came out as gay in the French LGBT magazine Têtu in October 2009.
Speaking to French music site Pure Charts, he said:
"In the schoolyard, I felt that I was not like other boys, I was different. I received words, homophobic verbal abuse. But what homo did not live once in his life a humiliation, violent words that remind you that you are different, that you do not have the right to love someone of the same sex as you, and that you do not have the right to be there? It's violent."
Emergency Homophobia, originally Emergency Chechnya, has helped more than 40 LGBT refugees fleeing persecution after Chechen authorities launched a violent crackdown against LGBT residents. The state-sponsored abduction and detention of gay and bisexual men has left hundreds targeted for beatings and torture. The precise number of those detained and killed is unknown.
In an interview with HBO's Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel in July 2018, Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov denied reports of an anti-LGBT purge in the region. In fact, he claimed that such abuses would not happen because he believes there are no gay men in Chechnya at all.
"This is nonsense," Kadyrov said when asked about the allegations. "We don't have those kinds of people here. We don't have any gays. If there are any, take them to Canada."
Kadyrov also responded angrily when speaking about the reporters and activists working to spotlight abuses against the LGBT community in Chechnya.
"They are devils. They are for sale. They are not people," he said. "God damn them for what they are accusing us of. They will have to answer to the almighty for this."
Despite the condemnation he's received, Kadyrov, who has enjoyed the backing of Russian President Vladimir Putin, said that he is not worried about the American opinion of Chechnya.
"America is not really a strong enough state for us to regard it as an enemy of Russia," he said. "We have a strong government and are a nuclear state. Even if our government was completely destroyed, our nuclear missiles would be automatically deployed."
With comments like those, it's no wonder songs like "De l'Amour" are so necessary.