FEMINIST FRIDAY: Alicia Keys’ Film About Refugees, & The Case For More Women In Politics


We love our Feminist Friday series! It’s the perfect way for us to end the week and check out some cool and interesting videos that are being shared online. This week we have quite the variety for you, covering politics, immigration and body image.

First we’ll start with Alicia Keys’ powerful ‘Let Me In’ short film which was released on Tidal, but available to view on Youtube also. The film was made for her We Are Here movement, founded in 2014, to empower people around a host of issues Alicia cares about. They take the guesswork out of where and how to give through a curated coalition of organizations, causes and campaigns to provide the public with one-stop shopping to change the world.

It was written and directed by by Jonathan Olinger and stars Alicia as a mom whose family are torn apart by a war zone. It was made to really engage people in the plight of the many refugees around the world today. Unfortunately there is so much negative and divisive rhetoric around refugees thanks to certain types of political leaders, but this video seeks to bring back the humanity to these desperate families.

“There are more refugees in the world today than at any point in history. And half of them are children. LET ME IN is a cinematic experience which reimagines the refugee crisis as if it was happening on America’s shores. This tale of survival and the remarkable power of the human spirit is inspired by the stories of real refugees. Starring Alicia Keys, the film follows her and her family’s quest to survive after they experience unimaginable violence and embark on a journey that will forever change them. Along with thousands of Americans fleeing the conflict in Los Angeles, they must seek safety by attempting to cross the border into Mexico. Guided by their resolute love for each other and utter determination, the refugee family must navigate oceans and desserts in their unrelenting pursuit to find refuge and reunite,” says the description. Watch the full video:

The second video is part of an awesome Kickstarter campaign happening right now! If you are a regular here at GTHQ, you will know we are a huge supporter of brands that are seeking to create clothing lines that cater to plus size women, which is not only a billion dollar market, but a very under-served market. Thankfully that is changing, and it is women like Christina Marshall-Valdez, the CEO and founder of Elu who are stepping into the gap and catering to women’s bodies that have for too long been ignored by mainstream consumer fashion.

“There are 70 million plus size women in the U.S. and 80% still struggle to find clothes in their size. 85% of these women say they would purchase at least 1-2 more articles of clothing during a single transaction if they could ensure proper fit. This means the plus size industry is leaving serious money on the table. Well, the wait is over for a plus-size apparel solution that fills the gap and prioritizes true fit,” said Christina in a press release about her line.

As a marketing professional in NYC, she was constantly being invited to industry events and parties but struggled to find clothing that suited her body.

“I couldn’t find options in my size or styles that aligned with the image I wanted. So I opted out of many events. As a result, I felt second-class, and frankly, embarrassed,” she admits.

The breaking point came when she was at an exclusive all-white yacht party where saw several other plus size women wearing the same low-quality white dress as her. Recognizing the pain and frustration of these women as well as countless others, she vowed to one day create a disruptive solution that innovates and democratizes how plus-size women participate in fashion. Watch her campaign video and be sure to donate as the campaign is running until August 31st.

Finally this week, politics, yay! No, but seriously, while there is a lot of negativity around the current US presidential election, the bright spot is that we have broken at 200+ year barrier by electing Hillary Clinton as the first female nominee of a major political party.

Aside from the particulars of this election, what are the greater implications of having a female head of state? The UK recently appointed Theresa May as their new Prime Minister, replacing David Cameron in the top spot for the Tories as he resigned after the Brexit vote. There are a number of countries around the world which have beaten the US by electing their first female leader, but is it enough?

Have we really reached the point of political equality at the highest level? Not quite, says Al Jazeera ‘Up Front’ reporter Mehdi Hasan for their ‘Reality Check’ series. He even makes a great case for gender quotas in government, if we ever hope to see complete equality in our lifetime.

Most of us are very used to looking at male-dominated houses of parliament, senates, and congressional line-ups. Hillary Clinton may well be breaking a major barrier for the United States, but is it enough? Will it have a knock-on effect around the world to speed up the gender equality numbers? We whole-heartedly believe in the importance of diverse representation in leadership, and just like Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau proudly told the press last year when asked why he made his cabinet 50/50 men and women, “it’s 2015!”.

Well now it’s 2016 and we hope to see many more women running for office at every level in every country. Watch Mehdi Hasan spell out it for us below, and make sure to come back next week, same time, same place for another installment of Feminist Friday!



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