“Hatari” means danger in Swahili and “protest” in Eurovision. Indeed, Hatari, Iceland’s anti-capitalist, techno band made quite an impact at Eurovision 2019. Already making a name for themselves on the internet for the past couple of months, cousins and vocalist Klemens Nikulásson Hannigan and Matthías Tryggvi Haraldsson and producer and drummer Einar Hrafn Stefánsson toyed with a BDSM theme during their performance.
Although members are rumoured being gay, they have not publicly identified as so. Matthías Tryggvi Haraldsson told NBC News: “We haven’t identified as a queer band as such, but we do touch upon themes like gender fluidity, masculinity and femininity, repression and expression, and others — which many audience members identify with, not least of all in the queer scene.”
Hatari got especially noticed for making the bold move of waving the Palestinian flag during the counting of points. Haraldsson told the Independent: “You sign up to a contract that says you’re not allowed to be political in the competition, but if anyone thinks they’re going to Tel Aviv without a political message they couldn’t be more wrong”. He added: “It’s a paradox because all of the songs that make it to that stage will offend the sensibilities of many people by virtue of the context of where the contest is taking place, and the legitimate criticisms many people have.”
At the centre of numerous controversies, Hatari later filmed themselves being told by Eurovision officials to put their Palestinian flags away.
The Icelanders finished 10th in the competition with 234 points.
France was recognised for being represented by Bilal Hassani, a 19-year-old openly gay Muslim singer. Being Muslim and gay while performing in Israel was a statement in itself. Hassani also chose to perform with a plus-sized Ballerina. His song “Roi”, “King” in English, is about embracing your difference and not being afraid to be yourself. His lyrics reflects on this theme of self-acceptance and pride: “You put me in a box, want me to be like you, J’suis pas dans les codes, ça dérange beaucoup” (In English: I am part of society’s norm and it disturbs people a lot).
In case you missed it, here are the top five of the Eurovision final:
1st Netherlands with 492 points
2nd Italy with 465 points
3rd Russia with 369 points
4th Switzerland with 360 points
5th Norway with 338 points
Unfortunately, UK finished last at the 26th position with only 16 points.