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Pussy Riot ‘Don’t Give a F-k About Playing Nice’ in ‘Laugh It Off’

The artist-activists in Pussy Riot are marking International Women’s Day by releasing a new song, “Laugh It Off,” and launching a new organization to benefit women and LGBTQ+ artists called UnicornDAO. The DAO follows Pussy Riot’s UkraineDAO, which has raised more than $7 million for citizens of the war-torn country.

The song, which features Vérité and Latashá, is a short, clubby dance-pop song with a throbbing beat and lyrics about feeling like how if you’ve got nothing to lose, you can just laugh it off. It’s song of independence. The women wrote the song with Tove Lo and producer Tim Nelson. The track will feature on what’s being billed as an upcoming project by Pussy Riot, due out on Neon Gold Records later this year, for which Tove Lo is the executive producer.

“Women-identified and LGBTQ+ people don’t need to be empowered, we need tools and funds to empower ourselves,” Pussy Riot’s Nadya Tolokonnikova said in a statement of how the song ties in with International Women’s Day.

“‘Laugh It Off’ is such an appropriate title to this song because as women existing in male-dominated spaces, we’re constantly expected to be accommodating and deflect strange, presumptuous behavior gracefully and without ruffling any feathers,” Vérité said. “Collaborating with Pussy Riot and Latashá, these unapologetically strong women who don’t give a fuck about playing nice and whose mission is supporting and amplifying female, non-binary and LGBTQ+ voices in music and beyond feels right and I’m stoked for the world to hear it.”

The track will be available to purchase as an NFT to 150 buyers at 5 p.m. ET today via the Sound.xyz platform. It features 3-D visuals by artist Ksti Hu.

“Getting to enter Nadya’s world and be a part of this project is my pussy power passion project,” Tove Lo said about the upcoming project. “She’s an iconic artist with an incredible life story who goes into everything with a bigger purpose. I hope we all get to live in the Pussyverse!”

Pussy Riot are also launching the UnicornDAO Tuesday to raise the profiles of women and LGBTQ+ artists, whose art represents as little as five percent of NFT sales. Some of the DAO’s supporters include Guy Oseary (manager for Madonna and U2), Vérité, and World of Women, among others. Each member of the DAO contributes both capital and time. MoonPay is offering a set at the DAO to members of the public via a social media campaign.

“The goal of UnicornDAO is to bring more tools, capital, and power to women-identifying and LGBTQ+ people,” Tolokonnikova said in a statement. “We still have the same ethos as Pussy Riot did over 10 years ago; bringing equality, justice, and joy to communities that have been historically underrepresented. Art made by women sells for 50 percent less than works by men. If you’re a female or LGBTQ+ identifying person, you make more compromises than your male-identified counterparts. You are scrutinized, questioned, and often your professionalism is disputed. Capital is still vastly concentrated in the hands of men — they still rule the world, and it’s not cute. UnicornDAO is here to redistribute wealth and allow women and LGBTQ+ people to empower themselves.”

Pussy Riot will participate in a UnicornDAO launch event at South by Southwest on March 11 at Empire Garage. Admission is free.

Additionally, Tolokonnikova has curated a new art exhibition titled Patriarchy R.I.P. that will feature 10 pieces of artwork made by women and LGBTQ+ artists that will appear on billboards in nine states. For the effort, Pussy Riot teamed with SaveArtSpace, which asked artists to reflect on female empowerment, smashing the patriarchy, and the call for equitable pay across genders.

For the campaign, Tolokonnikova selected art by Michele Pred, Autumn Breon and Michele Pred, REKA NYARI, Fatimazohra Serri, Van Velden Studio, Aminta Paiz, EllaSuper, Niohuru X, Jess Whittam, and Holly Silius to run alongside 11 works by Tolokonnikova herself. The billboards will run in New York, California, Tennessee, Nevada, Missouri, Arizona, Georgia, Louisiana, and Alabama.

Tolokonnikova recently told Rolling Stone how her work on the UnicornDAO and the Patriarchy R.I.P. endeavors inspired her to launch the UkraineDAO. “In the last year, I’ve been working a lot in crypto and NFTs and we’ve been organizing this thing called Pussyverse,” she said. “It’s an organization and a movement of people who try to bring more equality to the digital art space. We are collecting a large pool of money, and we’re planning to use it to buy art from women and LGBTQ+ artists in the digital space and really raise the [value] of their artworks. So when we got this devastating news that Putin started the war in Ukraine, my first reaction was to try to help through what I know how to do, and I decided to do a DAO with a number of friends.” The fundraiser helped amass $7 million for Ukrainians in a short amount of time.

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