By Matthew Cullinan Hoffman
SANREMO, ITALY, February 20, 2009 (LifeSiteNews.com) - Braving protests and controversy, Italian pop star Giuseppe Povia has performed his new song about conversion from the homosexual lifestyle at Italy’s prestigious Sanremo Festival.
The song was performed during the festival’s opening on Wednesday, before an estimated audience of 14 million television viewers, and featured Povia with a female backup singer, a guitar band, a symphony orchestra, and the lyrics projected onto curtains in the background. The live audience strongly applauded the song at its conclusion, despite the controversy surrounding its theme.
"Luca was Gay" recounts the liberation of a psychologically injured man from the homosexual lifestyle. "Luca", who is believed to be based on the Italian Luca di Tolvi, develops homosexual attractions after his father leaves and his mother treats him as a substitute, creating confusion about his sexual identity.
Delivered as a "soft" rap song that alternates between a spoken and sung account, Povia becomes the mouthpiece for "Luca", who begins by saying: "Before I talk about the change in my sexuality, let me make something clear: If I believe in God, I can’t depend on human beings for my answers. Human thought is divided on this issue, so I didn’t look to psychologists, psychiatrists, clergymen, or scientists. My search took me into my own past, and when I dug down deep, I found answers to my questions about myself."
Luca’s parents separate, and his father becomes an alcoholic. His mother becomes "obsessed" with him, "suffocates" him, and tells him "whatever you do, don’t get married."
"She was jealous of my girlfriends; it felt so unhealthy. And I was more confused than ever about who I was," sings Povia, in Luca’s name.
Eventually Luca finds himself with homosexual attractions as he seeks the affirmation he never received from his father, while trying to avoid disappointing his mother with a female rival. He enters into sexual relationships with older men.
"I was looking for my father in all those men. I went with them because I didn’t want to betray my mother," Povia sings. He also alludes to the superficiality of homosexual relationships, having Luca say, "I was with a man for four years. Sometimes there was love and sometimes only deception. We cheated on each other constantly."
However, Luca finally finds a woman with whom he can speak about his pain. "I was still searching for my truth, for the kind of love that would last forever. Then one night I met her at a party. She was just there with a lot of other people. She didn’t have anything to do with what I was going through, but she listened, she laid me bare, she understood. All I remember is: the next day, I missed her."
Luca resolves his problems and leaves the homosexual lifestyle for his new love, and now has children. He says that he forgives his parents.
"Dad, I’ve forgiven you even though you left us for good," sings Povia. "Mom, I think about you all the time, and I’ve never stopped caring. Sometimes I still see your face, but I’m a father now, and my heart belongs to the only woman I’ve ever truly loved."
The stanzas are interlaced with the chorus, "Luca was gay but now he’s with her. When Luca speaks, he holds his heart in his hand. Luca says: Today I am a different man."
The success of the song, which has now been viewed over 100,000 times on the station’s website, has been achieved in spite of protests by Italian homosexualist groups, led by "Arcigay," whose leader has denounced Povia for promoting "homophobia."
Italian comedian Roberto Benigni, who opened the Festival with a monologue, also took jabs at Povia, claiming that "homosexuality isn’t a sin" and that homosexuals have been persecuted historically "because they love someone." He, too, received applause from the audience.
However, Paolo Bonolis, the artistic director and presenter of this year’s edition of the Sanremo Festival defended the song, asserting that it did not "take sides" but just "told a story."
The Sanremo Festival has been held every year in Sanremo, Italy since 1951, and is believed to be the inspiration for the Eurovision Song Contest. The winner of the Sanremo Festival, yet to be decided, will be Italy’s de facto representative in the Eurovision Song Contest, according to tradition.
The 36-year-old Povia won the Sanremo Festival in 2006 with his song, "I’d like to have the bill" and has had several platinum and gold hits in Italy. He has reportedly told the Catholic publication Il Giornale that he himself "toyed" with homosexual behavior when he was younger, but later "came out of it." He is an advocate of children’s rights and participates often in charitable events, according to his website.
Full Video of Giuseppe Povia Singing "Luca era Gay" (Luca was Gay)
YouTube filmed from television:
Previous LifeSiteNews coverage:
Italian Performer Sings Story of Conversion from Homosexuality at Music Festival
Italian Superstar Vocalist Al Bano Speaks Out Against Gay Pride Parades