Italian singer Mina, whose discs top the charts, yet she hasn't sung in public, not even in television, since 1978, has been the voice of Barilla since the '60s. Her unmistakable voice tells us why we should buy Barilla's pasta while one of her songs plays in the background.
Mina's only contact with the public is her agony aunt column on the last page of the Italian Vanity Fair. This week one of her comments got boosted up to the first pages of the magazine: her response to the thousands of letters she had received over Guido Barilla's anti-PR comments about gays.
For those who missed it, he said that he supported a “classic family” and would never feature “a homosexual family” in his company's advertising, and if gays didn't like it they were free to buy other brands. Gay activists suggested that gays and supporters of gay rights should do just that, and buy their pasta elsewhere. His comments flew around the social media, and the messages didn't stop even when he issued an apology, clarifying his comments.
Hashtags #boicottabarilla and #boycottbarilla trended on Twitter, and Mia Farrow wrote a tweet which said,
Now that we know pasta CEO G. Barilla is homophobic, it's a good day to say DeCecco is far better anyway.
So what does Mina, the voice of Barilla (and gay icon) have to say?
Certainly you remember Kennedy's speech when he visited Berlin; he said “Ich bin ein Berliner” (“I am a Berliner”). Good. As far as I'm concerned, the only comment I can make is: “I am gay”.
Graham Spicer is a writer, director and photographer in Milan, blogging (under the name ‘Gramilano') about dance, opera, music and photography for people “who are a bit like me and like some of the things I like”. He was a regular columnist for Opera Now magazine and wrote for the BBC until transferring to Italy.
His scribblings have appeared in various publications from Woman's Weekly to Gay Times, and he wrote the ‘Danza in Italia' column for Dancing Times magazine.