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Olly Alexander says he’s “ambivalent” about UK’s Union flag as it can be “divisive” and “nationalistic” ahead of Eurovision

May 7th, 2024

Olly Alexander has admitted that he is “ambivalent” about the Union Jack flag.

The Years and Years star, who is set to perform for the UK with his song ‘Dizzy’ at the grand final of the Eurovision Song Contest in Malmö, Sweden this Saturday (May 11), said he also found it “divisive” and “nationalist” but he wants to reclaim the flag in a “positive way”.

Speaking to the media [via Metro] ahead of the contest, Alexander said: “I’ve grown up in the UK, there’s a lot that I love about the UK, maybe the people and I’m lucky to have grown up in the UK.

“I too have an ambivalent relationship with the Union Jack and what that represents to people because it can feel divisive, it can feel nationalist, but it can also feel like a representation of what’s good about the UK and what makes it good – it’s the inclusivity, the diversity. I am choosing to kind of focus on those aspects of what I believe being in the UK has given me in my upbringing as well.”

Olly Alexander on March 30, 2024 in Madrid, Spain. CREDIT: Getty/Photo by Patricia J. Garcinuno/Getty Images

He continued: “I hope to reclaim the Union Jack in a positive way and when I’m going to be out there waving my flag, waving the Union Jack at the flag parade, it’s for all the good things that have come from growing up in the UK and being British and yeah, I think definitely focusing on that side of things.”

It comes after Alexander recently reportedly broke down in tears during an interview when addressing the current controversies relating to Israel’s participation in this year’s competition.

Alexander went on to say he supported “a ceasefire, returning the hostages, the safety and security of all people in Gaza. All the Palestinians and the people in Israel” – whether or not he participated in Eurovision “isn’t going to make a difference to those things, so that’s why I’m still doing it”.

“I believe it’s good to come together with music,” he said. “I’m still hoping to enjoy some aspects of it.”

A week before the contest’s pre-party, a group of 450 artists called Queers For Palestine wrote an open letter to Alexander urging him to boycott Eurovision.

Ireland’s 2024 Eurovision entry Bambie Thug was also urged to do the same and in a collective statement, the artist and Alexander reaffirmed their pro-Palestine stance whilst announcing they would not boycott.

Thug also told NME: “As artists, we’re easy targets, but at the end of the day, I have said that I don’t think they made the right decision. I still stand by that. But people should be coming for the EBU and for the broadcasters, not us as artists. I stand by my statement and I am completely for Palestine, and I think it’s ridiculous that it’s gone on for so long. I think the world is quite removed from its heart and its consciousness right now.”

Last year, Alexander was one of many who signed a pro-Palestine letter, calling Israel an “apartheid state” and accusing it of genocide.

Eurovision organisers also recently confirmed that they reserve the right to remove Palestinian flags and pro-Palestinian symbols during the contest in Malmö.

This content was originally sourced and posted at NME »
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