How Giolì & Assia Got Dropped from a Gig After Coming Out as a Couple

Graziano Piazza

Sierra Vandervort

2 min read

How Giolì & Assia Got Dropped from a Gig After Coming Out as a Couple

When Giorgia “Gioli” Lipari and Assia Nani met in 2014, they had no idea what would be in store for their relationship. As two multi-faceted, creative women, they started as an artist/manager duo. Assia was the practical, get-it-done accomplice to Giolì’s burgeoning sound as a DJ and producer. After opening their label, Diesis Records, and finally landing on a clear direction forward as the electro-pop duo Giolì & Assia, they also discovered they had fallen in love.

Though they never seem to play the martyr, their public relationship hasn’t come without its moments of doubt. In late 2017, the pair publicly announced that theirs was more than just a songwriting partnership. Their music videos for singles “Starry Nights” and “Borderline” solidified their happy love in the face of the public. Giolì & Assia say they haven’t experienced much resistance to their public lesbian relationship — except for one trip to Malaysia.

What was passed off as “problems with their visas” turned out to be an act rooted in the homophobia that still plagues the country’s policies. The two were slated to play at the W Hotel Malaysia Wet Deck in August 2019.

Gioli & Assia Tour Dates

As with all international artists, the Central Agencies Committee for Applications for Filming and Performances by Foreign Artists did a background check on the girls before their performance. When it came back that they were open lesbians, the show was swiftly canceled. The hotel announced that the cancellation was due to “unforeseen circumstances.” Assia later explained the authorities saw their lifestyle as a threat to national security, believing that “we can stimulate the people to be gay.”

“It’s weird that this kind of reality still exists, and music should be universal, but I think this will just need time,” Assia told Out Front Magazine. “There will be a moment where everyone will be free in those countries, but we already have the support from the [fans] there.” While some more remote areas of the world might still be warming up to it, LGBTQ culture has seen a broad surge of acceptance and celebration over the past few decades, much ado to dance music.

Urban discos and underground raves of the early ‘70s were assembled by a rich network of artists from the gay communities in New York, Detroit, and Chicago. From the glitz of Studio 54 to the extravagant excess of the New York club kid era, dance music has been the slow burn that helps bring LGBTQIA+ culture into the mainstream. In the present day, it’s the openness and empowerment of artists like Giolì & Assia that are helping to open the eyes of people around the world.

Gioli & Assia Tour Dates

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