FEMINIST FRIDAY: A “Quarantine Dream” Katy Perry Parody, Janelle Monae’s “Turntables” & Some “Misbehaviour” Giving Us Life!

Welcome to another edition of Feminist Friday! That part of the week where we slide into the weekend by stanning hard over a handful of videos we can’t get enough of right now. This week it’s all about the rebels, the people seeking justice, and the youth who are dreaming of a better (and safer) future beyond COVID-19!

First up is a music video that we have had on repeat since watching the Amazon documentary ‘All In’. Janelle Monae’s ‘Turntables’ is a call-to-arms for democracy, justice, and change, and was made for the documentary that is focused on voter suppression.

From her singing in front of a stack of mail boxes, a nod to the news of the Trump government is attacking the mail service in an attempt to ensure people’s votes are not counted, to the singer dragging the Warrior Goddess out of the sea at the very end, signaling a change in cultural leadership and the way women’s power has been hidden and suppressed for so long, this music video will give you hope and a fire in your belly to keep fighting for a better tomorrow.

A sample of the lyrics include:

“Got a new agenda/With a new dream/I’m kickin out the old regime Liberation, Elevation, Education/America You a lie/But the whole word ’bout to testify…”

The second video is the trailer to the British film ‘Misbehaviour’ directed by BAFTA winner Philippa Lowthorpe (‘Three Girls’) and stars Keira Knightley, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Jessie Buckley, Greg Kinnear, Lesley Manville, Keeley Hawes, Rhys Ifans and Phyllis Logan.

In 1970, the Miss World competition took place in London, hosted by US comedy legend, Bob Hope. At the time, Miss World was the most-watched TV show on the planet with over 100 million viewers. Claiming that beauty competitions demeaned women, the newly formed Women’s Liberation Movement achieved overnight fame by invading the stage and disrupting the live broadcast of the competition. Not only that, when the show resumed, the result caused uproar: the winner was not the Swedish favourite but Miss Grenada, the first black woman to be crowned Miss World. In a matter of hours, a global audience had witnessed the patriarchy driven from the stage and the Western ideal of beauty turned on its head.

This film also puts front and center the complicated history of white feminism and the struggle for Black and Brown women to have their voices and concerns heard by the second wave. Is dismantling a beauty pageant enough? When we see how two Black women, one from Grenada and one from South Africa, are being given a huge platform like never before, is it enough for white feminists to tell them what they are doing is “disempowering” without understanding the racial injustice these women have lived through (at the hands of the British, mind you…)?

Watch the trailer below:

The final video this week comes from our friends over at SExT based in Canada. SExT stands for Sex Education by Theatre, and is an organization started by artist and public health advocate Shira Taylor as a way to deliver intersectional, timely and inclusive messages about sexual health, communication, social justice and more.

Aside from their theatre performances and school workshops, they also make catchy parody music videos which get a tonne of views and turn current events into a relatable discussion. Their current video is called ‘Quarantine Dreams’ and empowers youth to imagine better futures in the post-quarantine world.

Based on ​Katy Perry​’s​ ‘TeenageDream’, the lyrics have been re-written by cast members Lauren Chang and Michelle Nyamekye, reflecting on lessons learned during quarantine. With so much negativity and fear permeating the discourse around COVID-19, this song provides a refreshing re-frame in its view of our current situation as an opportunity to reflect on and challenge the systems and behaviors that no longer serve us. This piece is an arts-based public health educational resource made by youth for youth.

Watch below, and support the work and creativity of SExT!

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