George Michael Street Name CY

Two days after George Michael died in 2016, I started an online petition to have a street named after him in Cyprus. We felt that was the least we could do for an artist whose Greek Cypriot father was born in the village of Patriki in the Famagusta district. You can read more about George Michael and being Cypriot in my blog post from that time.

.I worked on the petition nonstop for roughly six months.We obtained around 2940 signatures. The petition got in the news in both positive / negative ways, and for a variety of reasons, there was a sense of roadblocks. Things that were fairly logical appeared daunting. Because the petition was addressed to officials, who, after all, make choices on road naming, disappointingly, with one or two exceptions, it was largely ignored. And those who did respond, although initially enthusiastic, tended to fizzle out in their mediocrity. I couldn’t get over it back then. The aftermath of George Michael’s death felt so strange.

The coroner required three months to decide that George Michael died of natural causes, including dilated cardiomyopathy with myocarditis and fatty liver. During that time, his family requested that their privacy be respected. Obviously, it wasn’t. The Sun tabloid published a gossipy account of his death with little sourced evidence. It shifted from day to day, and the narratives changed dramatically between December 25th, 2016 and March 7th, 2017. Two petitions also emerged , both online. One to have statue outside his Highgate Home which got up to 5,822 signatures before it closed, and our in Cyprus, to have a street named after him, which also got featured in The Cyprus Mail and T-Vine

A murial came up in the Kingsbury Estate, London, where George Michael grew up, by British artist Dawn Mellor, You can read about it here and see it below

Some interesting street art also appeared a few days after his death in East London by Pegasus.

I find it difficult to believe that, despite George Michael’s tremendous impact on popular culture, no streets in the world have been named after him; thus, this section of my site is dedicated to changing that in Cyprus. Now I know, and believe me, having witnessed many of the haters myself, that when something like this enters the public sphere, a number of people always appear who represent generally a conservative backlash. It’s a toxic mix of homophobia, narrow-mindedness, and ignorance, and the weight of it all is crushing. We have the most global, worldwide pop star with a connection to Cyprus, and we are not celebrating or expressing anywhere that he made us proud, just as he made his family and parents proud. It feels so shallow.

I recall being on a flight from Lesvos when Michael Dukakis¬†ran as the Democratic candidate for President of the USA in 1988. Around half the people on the flight were Greek-US citizens coming back from Lesvos. It was a curious thing for me so I asked one of them what was going on and he told me they came as a group to visit Michael Dukakis village of Pelopi on the Greek island off the coast of Turkey. Apparently Dukakis only visited once, twelve years before 1988 and he only stayed for four hours! The esteemed Cyprus Weekly journalist John Vickers interviewed George Michael during his Wham days in Juky 1983 for ‘The Cyprus Weekly’.. Just to set the record straight, the article states the pop singer often came to Cyprus and concludes with George Michael saying ” Oh I will be definitely be coming back whenever I can. I love it! And thank you very much.” It’s a fine message to all the haters out there who still believe the most famous Cypriot-linked pop singer had nothing to do with the island. See it in full below:

So what next? We keep raising awareness and hope to have some kind of recognition in Cyprus for George Michael.

Sign The Online Petition to have a Street Named After George Michael in Cyprus by clicking the image below