United Nations Free & Equal Bollywood Music Video for Gay Rights Exceeds One Million Views

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“The Welcome,” the UN’s first-ever Bollywood music video becomes one of the most watched UN videos of all time

The video’s message of love, family and acceptance could not be timelier.

A Bollywood-inspired United Nations music video with a message of gay acceptance has rapidly become one of the most watched UN videos of all time. “The Welcome”, released on 30 April 2014 as part of the UN’s ongoing Free & Equal campaign, has been watched by more than a million people on the video-sharing site YouTube. To view the video, visit: http://www.unfe.org/the-welcome.

The two-and-a-half minute video stars Indian actress Celina Jaitly, who last year was nominated by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights as a “UN equality champion” in recognition of her support for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) equality. Jaitly makes her musical debut in the video, singing a new version of the 1979 Bollywood classic, Uthe Sab Ke Kadam. The song was recomposed and remixed by Neeraj Shreedhar of the Bombay Vikings, and produced in association with the music company Saregama India. The video’s dance sequences were choreographed by Longi (Slumdog Millionaire) – who worked on the project pro bono. The concept for the video was developed by creative agency Curry Nation.

Commenting on reaching the one million mark, Charles Radcliffe, Chief of Global Issues at the UN Human Rights Office said: “For the UN, using a Bollywood tune to advocate for human rights is a novel approach that’s paid off. Already more than a million people have watched 'The Welcome' online and millions more on TV at a time when lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights are being debated around the world. The video’s message of love, family and acceptance could not be timelier. We are enormously grateful to everyone who worked for free to create this video, especially our starring Equality Champion Celina Jaitly."

"It has been an honour for me to partner with the UN and contribute my musical debut to this cause, which has been a very important part of my life as an activist for LGBT rights,” said Jaitly. “With this video, we wanted to encourage people to pause and reflect on the way a young couple are received by their friends and family. I have been overwhelmed by the positive response it’s been generating, including from many gay people in Asia who tell me they have shown it to their own parents, or to their brothers and sisters, friends and co-workers. Change often begins with difficult conversations and this was our attempt to bring forth a difficult conversation in a wonderful light hearted way through the universal language of music."



The Free & Equal campaign aims to raise awareness of homophobic and transphobic violence and discrimination, and encourage greater respect for the rights of LGBT people. The campaign, which had its global launch in South Africa in July 2013, is led by the UN Human Rights Office and has strong backing from UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. The campaign also benefits from the support of a several celebrity UN Equality Champions – including South African singer and “Princess of Africa” Yvonne Chaka Chaka, American hip hop duo Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, Puerto Rican pop star Ricky Martin, Bollywood actress Celina Jaitly, Brazilian singer Daniela Mercury, and members of the U.S. band fun.

In December 2011, the UN Human Rights Office published the first official UN report on violence and discrimination against LGBT persons. The report documented widespread human rights abuses. More than 76 countries still criminalize consensual, same-sex relationships, while in many more discrimination against LGBT people is widespread – including in the workplace and in the education and health sectors. Hate-motivated violence, including physical assault, sexual violence, and targeted killings, has been recorded in all regions.

For further information and media requests, please contact:
Jackie Yodashkin, Purpose Foundation: +1 415-878-6391/ jackie (at) unfe (dot) org

Follow the Free & Equal campaign on social media:
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/free.equal
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/free_equal

Learn more about the Free & Equal campaign at http://www.unfe.org

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Free & Equal is an initiative of the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) implemented in partnership with the Purpose Foundation – a leader in building global, social media-driven campaigns on human rights-related issues.

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Jackie Yodashkin
Free & Equal
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