We’ll get to the music in a minute. Cultural diplomacy is vital. First, I encourage y’all to follow these reporters for firsthand information about the war inside Ukraine: X Soviet News (retweets multiple sources in Russian and Ukrainian languages with English translation), the team at The Kyiv Independent, correspondent Olga Tokariuk of EFE Noticias and Terrell Jermaine Starr, host of the #BlackDiplomats podcast, all on the ground in Ukraine. Avoid viral fakes.

Now, here is the half-dozen recent music videos by Ukrainian artists that made me go wow-now on fashion styling. Many artists changed preview shots of the music videos to antiwar messages. Do check out their linked Instagram pages as folks continue to share their own wartime experiences live.

Jamala & Pianoбой – Эндорфины

Jamala won 2016 Eurovision Song Contest with her stunning ballad 1944 about the ethnic cleansing of the Crimean Tatars by Stalin. “They come to your house, they kill you and say we’re not guilty“. Ufff. Her recent posts chronicle a long escape from Kyiv with her children alongside a million of her followers and compatriots. Endorphins is her latest single, styled by a longtime collaborator Yuri Zhuikov.

Ivan Dorn – Тебе Нема Сьогодні

One of the most popular Ukraine-Russia crossover artists, Ivan is using his platform now to plead with his audiences for awareness and intervention. His latest single You’re Not Here Today was styled by Anna Honcharova. In a break with pop convention, he turned down model/actress/influencer casting choices for this video in order to make it with his wife. It is disarming in its playful intimacy.

Okean Elzy & Odyn v Kanoe – Місто весни

Arguably Ukraine’s hardest rock band and softest folk duo teamed up for a love letter to Lviv. This city in western Ukraine known as Eastern Europe’s coffeeshop thanks to its coffee and chocolate culture since the 18th century. Right now Lviv is home to various evacuated embassies and the primary point of train departures out of the country. You can witness the “before” city in this video. Odyn v Kanoe are on tour US and Canada in March. Show up!

Verka Serduchka – Є пропозиція

A drag queen with a samogon-soaked heart of gold and a post-Soviet kitsch style icon, Verka is one of the most memorable performers in the history of Eurovision. Her 2007 entry Dancing Lasha Tumbai finished second while causing controversy as Russian listeners first heard/interpreted the chorus as “Russia Goodbye“. On his Instagram account, the artist Andriy Danylko has some much harsher words for the Russian president this time around.

KAZKA Band x Runstar – Автовідповідач

Stylist Varvara Barto takes two of Ukraine’s youngest/freshest talents on a surreal road trip. This video does not age well when the aging process is five days of war.

Wellboy – Вишні (Cherries)

A midsummer 2021 Style the Beat honoree, Anton Wellboy uses his Instagram stories to inform his audience about ways they can help. His latest video was a delightful mix of computer games, folklore and irreverence. Stylist Myroslava Kovalenko weaved her signature magic onscreen again.

Meanwhile … stay informed, stay tuned, stay styled!


Check out previous installments of Style the Beat series here.

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