Highlighted: Russia – Manizha

Manizha

Tonight is the night… the first semifinal of the Eurovision Song Contest. 16 countries compete for a place in the grand final, including Russia, with singer Manizha. But who is Manizha?

Manizha (full name Manizja Dalerovna Sangin) was born in 1991 in Dushanbe, the capital of the then Tajik Soviet Socialist Republic, a state of the Soviet Union. Her father was a doctor, her mother a psychologist and couturier. Her parents divorced when Manizha was very young . Her father has always opposed a musical career for his daughter, as he believed it to be contrary to their beliefs. Manizha changed her birth name Chamrajeva to Sangin, in tribute to her grandmother, who was one of the first to encourage Manizha to pursue a musical career. Her grandmother was one of the first women in Tajikistan to remove her veil and start a career of her own; after this her children were taken out of her care, although she was later able to return to them.

In 1994 she fled with her family to the Russian capital Moscow because of the outbreak of the Tajik Civil War. She  also graduated as a psychologist from the Russian State University of Human Sciences. Manizja started her musical career in 2003, at the age of twelve. She took part in talent shows, and was part of “Ru.Kola” (2007-2011), “Assai” (2011) and “Krip de Shin” (2011-2014 / 15) After studying Gospel Music in London and New York, Manizha returned to Russia in 2016, where she started her solo career. In February she released her debut album, “Manuscript”. In 2018 she launched the flash mob “Beauty Trauma” against the beauty ideals imposed by the media. During a concert on the roof of Chateau de Fantomas in Moscow, she took off her make-up and invited her audience to do the same. Manizha supports various charities. In 2019, she launched a campaign against domestic violence, and released the app “Silsila”, which allows victims of domestic violence to quickly seek help. She also released a video clip for the song “Mama” with director Lado Quatania,in which she exposes the problem of domestic violence against women and children.The project came about without the support of the state, outside companies or funds. For that reason, Manizha’s mother took out a mortgage on the apartment.

Manizha also actively supports the LGBTQI+ community. In 2019 she starred in a video for the Russian online queer magazine “Otkritiye”, which earned her a lot of criticism and costed her tenthousands of followers on Social Media.

All in all, an interesting, socially responsible, committed woman. Her entry for the Eurovision Song Contest also exposes a social issue. Or, as she herself explained to Eurovision TV:

“This is a song about the transformation of women’s self-consciousness in Russia over the centuries. A Russian woman has gone a tremendous way from a peasant cabin to the right to be chosen and chosen (one of the first in the world), from factory workshops to space flights. She has never been afraid to resist stereotypes and take responsibility. This is the source of inspiration for the song. ”

Many Russian viewers took offense at a singer of Tajik descent singing about Russian women and the singer’s activism for LGBTQI+ and women’s -rights, and left hate reaction on the video and her Instagram account, demanding that she quit Eurovision. YThe first vice-chair of the State Duma Committee on Culture, suggested banning Manizha from performing in the Eurovision Song Contest under the Russian flag, also noting that Eurovision offered no cultural value and was too politicized and was pro-LGBTQI+.

Still, she will be in the First semifinal of the Eurovision Song Contest tonight, and there is a good chance that she will be able to sing her “Russian Woman” again for Europe during the big Final of the festival.

Good luck Manizha!

In Cooperation with Eurovision Artists.

Photo and video credits: EBU

 

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