FEMINIST FRIDAY: Janelle Monae Goes ‘Pynk’ For Empowerment & Drake’s Female-Driven ‘Nice For What’

Welcome to another edition of Feminist Friday, a regular column where we share our favorite videos of the week, and we usually try to keep things fresh with a different theme each time. This week it’s all about empowering music, sometimes in the unlikeliest ways from the unlikeliest of people.

First up is the latest from rapper Drake. His music video for his new single ‘Nice For What’ is a feel-good tune celebrating the power of women, featuring a group of powerful celebrity women. With recognizable faces such as Tracee Ellis Ross, Olivia Wilde, Rashida Jones, Tiffany Haddish, Issa Rae, Yara Shahidi and breakout ‘Black Panther’ star Leticia Wright. Fans can’t get enough of the simple yet empowering statement this video makes, all without a hint of visual objectification, which is damn refreshing.

It should also be noted this track and music video is female-powered behind the scenes as well. The video was directed by Karena Evans, who also directed Drake’s video for God’s Plan. The track also includes a sample of Lauryn Hill’s 1998 song ‘Ex-Factor’. At a moment in the zeitgeist when female empowerment and women’s voices being centered is more important than ever, Drake deciding to give himself the least amount of screen time was kinda cool, we can only hope his message continues beyond his art and into the rest of his life. Check out ‘Nice For What’ below:

The second video comes from Lebanon’s first and only all-female metal band, Slave to Sirens. The members are Shery Bechara (lead guitarist), Tatyana Boughaba (drummer), Alma Doumani (bassist), Maya Khairallah (vocalist), and Lilas Mayassi (rhythm guitarist). They formed in 205 after meeting at a protest in Beirut, and soon discovered they had a common love for thrash metal, according to an interview with TheNational.ae.

Not only are they disrupting a music genre that is heavily male-dominated around the world, in Lebanon they are also working to dismantle other cultural barriers they face.

“It’s hard for girls here to have a band and go out, especially at night. Our parents are still conservative or protective. Because it’s a male-dominated country, you still have these conservative ideas,” said Lilas.

This is why they have a central female empowerment theme running through their music – to inspire other girls in Lebanon to know what they too can be capable of.

“It talks to all the girls who live in a religious, conservative society. It’s like they’re living in their own shell and they don’t have enough guts to do what they want or face society or their parents, so we’re telling everyone – but girls, mainly – ‘Go, do what you want. Follow your dreams and don’t let anyone send you away. If we can do it, you can do it,” said the rhythm guitarist. Listen to a sample of their track ‘Slave To Sirens’ from their EP ‘Terminal Leeches’ below, and listen to the full EP by clicking here.

Our final video this week is Janelle Monae‘s ‘Pynk’ music video which has been setting the pop culture world on FYAH with it’s not-so-subtle celebration of female sexuality and demystification of the vagina in particular. Also starring actress Tessa Thompson, this video is sure to become one of those moments in music history which will set apart the artist from the others for her daring boldness and unapologetic embrace of the female body.

It is being heralded as a “bisexual and women’s empowerment anthem”, and we can’t get enough of Janelle and her gals dancing in vagina-shaped pants in the desert. Coachella eat your heart out! It is refreshing to see a music video that celebrates the female form in an artistic, female-driven way. It’s not hard to find an endless plethora of music videos throughout the decades where women’s bodies are literally used as lifeless props and tools of sexual pleasure for the male gaze.

It’s one of the reasons we like to include music videos like this in our Feminist Friday column. In the current era of the #MeToo movement to give victims of sexual assault a voice, the Women’s Marches and record number of American women running for political office, and the #TimesUp movement seeking to dismantle the male-dominated systems of power in entertainment, Janelle Monae’s video is essential viewing and a reminder that the matriarchy is rising.


 

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  1. Pingback: FEMINIST FRIDAY: '20 Weeks' Film Shows The Complex Reality Behind Abortion Decisions - GirlTalkHQ

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