Brandis criticises Abbott’s ‘bizarre’ call to ban Macklemore ‘gay anthem’ at NRL

Attorney general backs rappers decision to sing Same Love at grand final, saying I thought Mr Abbott believed in freedom of speech

Australias attorney general, George Brandis, has defended American rapper Macklemore after the former prime minister Tony Abbott called for a performance of his hit song Same Love to be banned.

Abbotts daughter, Frances, who has emerged as a vocal supporter of same-sex marriage, has encouraged the American rapper to go harder in the face of her fathers criticism.

Macklemores scheduled performance at Sundays NRL grand final, in the middle of the countrys same-sex marriage postal survey, has sparked outrage from no campaigners who oppose marriage equality.

On Wednesday, the former Prime Minister said the season-ending event should not be politicised by the pro-LGBT rights song, after the former rugby league player Tony Wall launched a petition on Change.org to stop its performance.

But his daughter, Frances, who this week appeared in a video backing same-sex marriage, has come out in support of the rapper, writing on social media site Instagram that this is what we need right now.

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Frances Abbott: ‘marriage equality would make society a much better place’ video

I still remember the first time I heard this song. I was sitting in my car, about to get out and go to work … but stopped and listened. And that same day I went and bought the album and kept it in my car and listened to it over and over again.

I cant think of a better song for all the hundreds and thousands of people to listen to on Saturday. This is what we need right now.

Go harder @macklemore.

She also wrote press play, a reference to the songs lyrics: we press play, dont press pause. Progress, march on.

It came after Abbotts senior colleague Brandis defended Mackelmore and labelled Abbots stance bizarre earlier on Thursday.

Tony Abbott (@TonyAbbottMHR)

Footy fans shouldn’t be subjected to a politicised grand final. Sport is sport! https://t.co/1uRh4eZ61Z

September 27, 2017

It is one of his most popular songs and for Mr Abbott and anyone else to say that it should be banned I think is a bizarre thing to say, he told ABC TV. I thought Mr Abbott believed in freedom of speech.

Macklemore himself and the NRL also refused to back down. The rapper said he would go harder as a result of the criticism.

Im going to Australia to perform at kind of the Superbowl of their rugby league, he told a US radio station.

Im getting a lot of tweets from angry old white dudes in Australia. I think theres a petition today to ban me from playing it. Its interesting times in Australia.

In a statement, the NRL said fans would not expect anything less than a full-throated performance of Same Love.

Macklemore was chosen as the grand final act because he is currently one of the top acts in the world, a spokesman said.

The response from fans has been overwhelmingly positive many young people are coming to the grand final just to see him.

Naturally he will be performing his number one hits on Sunday. The fans would not expect anything less.

The rapper, who formerly performed as Professor Mack Lemore, won four Grammy awards in 2014 including best new artist and best rap album. His hit songs Thrift Shop and Same Love both topped the Aria charts between 2012 and 2013.

Last years grand final was watched by a peak of 4.2 million Australians, which broke records for metropolitan audiences, and drew a crowd of 83,625 attendees.

Wall, who started the petition to ban the song and who played 10 games for the Western Suburbs Magpies in 1995, asked the NRL to reconsider its political position.

My family and many other loyal NRL fans, who are no voters, will not feel comfortable watching the grand final when the NRL is imposing such a bold political stance on its fans while the issue is currently being voted on by the Australian people.

His petition also received support from the One Nation leader, Pauline Hanson, and the Liberal senator Eric Abetz.

Look I dont even know who he is, Macklemore, anyway, Hanson told Channel 7s Sunrise program. Thats how much important he is to me [but] the whole fact this is politicised is absolutely ridiculous.

Abetz told ABC radio that the NRL and AFL, who also supported marriage equality, had done themselves a gross disservice by trying to force a political agenda.

Same Love, released in July 2012, references Macklemores uncle, John Haggerty, who is gay, and asks to end the culture of homophobia in rap music. It reached number one on the Aria charts for four weeks.

Mackelmores performance on Sunday will last 15 minutes and will also include the songs Glorious, Downtown (featuring Eric Nally) and will feature singer Mary Lambert for Same Love, according to an NRL spokesman.

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2017/sep/28/brandis-criticises-abbotts-bizarre-call-to-ban-macklemore-gay-anthem-at-nrl

Author: Billy Roland

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