A small Ukrainian nationalist party came under fire Wednesday after a high-profile member suggested that 32-year-old pop star Gaitaina was a bad choice to represent the country at this year’s Eurovision music contest. Why? Because she was born to a Congolese father and Ukrainian mother, and he didn’t think someone of African descent was “authentically” Ukrainian enough.
Yuri Sirotyuk, of the political party Svoboda, told the New Region agency on Monday, “Yes, Gaitana sings well, but she does not represent our culture. Eurovision must be a show of national talents.” In case that wasn’t clear enough, he added, “It looks like we don’t want to show our face and Ukraine will be associated with a different continent, somewhere in Africa.”
Gaitana strongly condemned Sirotyuk’s statement, saying it tarnishes Ukraine. “I am very much ashamed for such racist statements, because they destroy Ukraine’s reputation in front of the whole world,” she told reporters.
Watch a clip from Gaitana’s YouTube channel here:
Read more at the Associated Press.