Transgender performer Anohni (formerly known as Antony Hegarty) has been nominated for a Best Original Song Oscar this year, for her performance of "Manta Ray" from the documentary Racing Extinction. It's usual for the nominees in this category to perform during the awards show, but while Lady Gaga, Sam Smith & the Weeknd will be doing so, Anohni was not invited. This was rumored to be due to "time constraints" - hardly plausible given that there was plenty of time for Foo Fighters frontman Dave Grohl (not a nominee) to be scheduled to perform.
Anohni has decided not to attend the Oscars ceremony, and yesterday she released a magnificent statement explaining her decision. You can read it here. Here's an extract.
I was told during my 20s and 30s there was no chance that someone like me could have a career in music, and this perspective was reiterated by so many industry "professionals" and media outlets that I lost count. I almost gave up. Thankfully, fellow artists like Lou Reed advocated for me so intensely that I got a foothold despite the worst intentions of others. In that sense, I am one of the luckiest people in the world.
I enjoy that wild and reckless exhilaration that comes from naming my truth as best as I can; it is what Nina Simone might have called a "boon." The truth is that I was not groomed for stardom and watered down for your enjoyment. As a transgendered artist, I have always occupied a place outside of the mainstream. I have gladly paid a price for speaking my truth in the face of loathing and idiocy.
I'll forget the ceremonies & be sure to listen to plenty of Anohni's music tomorrow night. Here's a beautiful performance (fittingly with the late Lou Reed), from 2010. Candy Says.