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Mika Spotlights 1950s Gay Cruising Culture in 'Sanremo' Music Video

Mika

The out singer visited a time when homosexuality was illegal and underground in Western Europe.

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Mika went cruising on the Italian Riviera.

The out singer's new music video "Sanremo," set in the Italian tourist destination, spotlights an era in recent Western European history when homosexuality was illegal and underground.

The black-and-white video depicts Mika saying goodbye to his wife and family -- before leaving to discover an underground bar where LGBTQ folks are mingling. Along the way, he evades both police officers and members of the clergy who eye him suspiciously.

Set in the 1950s, the music video includes real audio materials from that time period condemning gay people -- and even the voice from a gay person coming out in order to give others "courage."

The video concludes with Mika's cruising cut short by a police officer. The singer hides his face as his car is pulled over and an ominous message is played.

"The policy of this administration is that we do not knowingly hire homosexuals, and if we find a homosexual in our administration, we terminate their employment without delay," a voice from the real-life audio declared.

Directed by W.I.Z., "Sanremo" depicts "an era when homosexuality, if not illegal, was socially unacceptable, a time of discrimination and persecution. San Remo represents his utopian dream, a fictional place of liberation and transcendence," the filmmaker said in a statement.

W.I.Z. also directed Mika's music video for "Tiny Love." Both tracks are part of his newest album, My Name Is Michael Holbrook.

Mika himself is no stranger to discrimination due to his sexual orientation. In a recent interview with Rolling Stone, he revealed that he overheard one of the heads of a major record label saying they would not sign him because his music was "a little too gay."

His songs, including hits like "Grace Kelly," also reportedly did not receive airtime on U.S. radio due to a similar stigma. "We can't get behind a man singing in falsetto that he wants to be like a woman," a gatekeeper told Mika's mother, according to his collaborator Greg Wells.

Watch "Sanremo" below.

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Daniel Reynolds

Daniel Reynolds is the editor of social media for The Advocate. A native of New Jersey, he writes about entertainment, health, and politics.
Daniel Reynolds is the editor of social media for The Advocate. A native of New Jersey, he writes about entertainment, health, and politics.