UN rights office names hip-hop duo Macklemore and Ryan Lewis ‘equality champions’

Hip-hop duo Macklemore and Ryan Lewis. Credit: OHCHR

26 November 2013 – The United Nations campaign promoting greater respect for the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) persons worldwide got a boost today from rapper Macklemore and music producer Ryan Lewis, who have been designated Equality Champions.

“We're so honored to be working with the United Nations and Free & Equal to help spread a message of equality and respect,” Mr. Macklemore said in a news release from the Office of the UN High Commissioner of Human Rights (OHCHR).

“Ryan and I have always believed that human rights are for everyone - no exceptions,” he added.

The award winning duo will leverage their massive following on social media for the campaign.

Their anthem ‘Same Love’, from the 2012 album ‘The Heist’, has become an anthem for LGBT equality in several countries.

The song with includes the following lyrics has also won an MTV Video Music Award for ‘Best Video with a Social Message’:

‘A word rooted in hate, yet our genre still ignores it
Gay is synonymous with the lesser
It's the same hate that's caused wars from religion
Gender to skin color, the complexion of your pigment
The same fight that led people to walk outs and sit ins
It's human rights for everybody, there is no difference!
Live on and be yourself’

A number of other celebrities have pledged their support for the Free & Equal campaign, including pop star Ricky Martin, Bollywood actress Celina Jaitly and Brazilian singer Daniela Mercury.

The campaign was launched by UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay in Cape Town, South Africa on 27 July at an event featuring Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu, and South Africa Constitutional Court Justice Edwin Cameron.

In 2011, 85 States signed a statement expressing their concern at human rights violations perpetrated against LGBT people, and the UN Human Rights Council adopted the first ever resolution to specifically address the issue.

Last year, OHCHR produced a guide to LGBT rights entitled ‘Born Free and Equal’ that sets out States’ core legal obligations.


News Tracker: past stories on this issue

UN unveils ‘Free & Equal’ campaign to promote lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender rights

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