Last summer, President Vladimir Putin endorsed and signed anti-gay legislation, and recent viral videos suggest that members of the Russian LGBT community are now living in an increasingly hostile environment. Leading up to these Olympic Games, videos and reports have emerged highlighting detestable acts of animal cruelty (in an effort to “clean up” the host city). Finally, it’s widely reported that there is a terrorist threat from jihadist militants, born out of hatred for Russia. The Sochi Winter Olympics are sure to be memorable, but I can only hope for the right reasons.
This past week – because of the Russian government’s cruel (and what I consider criminal) actions – I’ve debated watching the Olympics on NBC. Does my viewership condone the actions of the Russian government? Does my viewership represent an oversight, and contradict my stances for LGBT equality and animal conservation and rights? These question have weighed on my mind – and I keep coming back to this one point: The Olympics are in place to showcase athletes who have worked countless hours and years to compete at these events – I’ll watch for them.
Be assured, my viewership does not mean I condone or stand beside – or that I’m overlooking – the actions of Putin’s government. Nor will I root against Russia’s athletes just because they’re Russian – may the best athletes win. To coincide with the Opening Ceremony, I have crafted a piece of art that represents my love for animals and shows my support for environmentalists, animal activists, and the LGBT community. It’s called Flamboyance.
Flamboyance was created featuring seven varied, yet similar flamingos. The number seven represents spirituality, understanding and knowledge. Flamingos represent grace, responsibility, community and vibrancy. Together, the message is clear – let this serve as my message of support for the oppressed, the Olympic spirit and her athletes, and as defiance against Russia’s oppressive regime. I now proudly present:
FLAMBOYANCE. (c) 2014. Bobby James
DID YOU KNOW? A colony, group, or flock of flamingos is called a Flamboyance.
NOTE: I’m infinitely more excited for the Opening Ceremony now that I know t.A.T.u. will be performing “Not Gonna Get Us” live! I will also add that I’m extremely proud of President Barack Obama for what he’s doing during the ceremony: find out here. So you could familiarize yourself with “Not Gonna Get Us” (and come to love the song, like I do) here’s a lyric video: