Black Trans Artists Honor Victims Of Transphobic Violence In Powerful Music Video

Written by on November 20, 2020

A trio of Black transgender ladies traverse a pandemic-shuttered New York in “However… I Survived,” a music video challenge aimed toward honoring victims of transphobic violence. 

Set to the tune of Sia’s “Alive,” the “However… I Survived” video stars “RuPaul’s Drag Race” veteran Peppermint, singer-songwriter Mila Jam and make-up artist Deja “The Girl Deja Davenport” Smith. 

As they stroll by parks and trip the subway, every of the ladies glances wistfully at pictures of transgender individuals who have been murdered lately. They then drape themselves in an unlimited transgender satisfaction flag, surrounded by a troupe of masked dancers engaged in a socially distant routine. 

Watch the “However… I Survived” video above. 

Unveiled Friday to mark Transgender Day of Remembrance (Nov. 20), “However…I Survived” was directed and choreographed by John Alix at the side of NMAC, previously generally known as the Nationwide Minority AIDS Council. 

Along with director of pictures Josh Drake, Alix mentioned he needed to “pay respect to the transgender ladies who’re not with us, and in addition scream to the viewer that trans ladies are alive, they’re right here, they’ve all the time been right here, and it’s time to concentrate.” 

“We would like folks to see the humanity in these ladies,” he instructed HuffPost in an interview. “We so typically put labels on who they’re earlier than we even know their story. They’re robust, wonderful, pushed people who present us their soul each day, whether or not you acknowledge it or not.” 

Deja "Lady Davenport" Smith, Peppermint, and Mila Jam. 

Deja “Girl Davenport” Smith, Peppermint, and Mila Jam. 

Peppermint, who in 2017 was the runner-up on “RuPaul’s Drag Race” and made her Broadway debut within the musical “Head Over Heels” the next 12 months, shared comparable sentiments. 

“The video both straight or not directly addresses the lives of trans folks of shade, who’re nonetheless right now affected by an unbelievable quantity of grief,” she mentioned in an e-mail. “And as heavy as that is on my coronary heart, with the ability to collect with pals and fellow artists to create this significant video feels fantastic.” 

The discharge of “However… I Survived” comes at a difficult time for the transgender neighborhood. A Human Rights Marketing campaign report printed Thursday discovered that 2020 has already been the deadliest 12 months on document for trans and gender-nonconforming folks, with 37 recognized victims of violent deaths to date. 

Many members of the neighborhood have additionally been closely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, with their entry to each social assist and gender-affirming well being care considerably diminished. 

Nonetheless, many transgender folks say they’re optimistic following Joe Biden’s defeat of President Donald Trump earlier this month. The president-elect’s Nov. 7 victory speech was the primary ever to single out trans voters.  

On Friday morning, Biden acknowledged Transgender Day of Remembrance with a poignant observe on Twitter. 

Whatever the political local weather, the solid and inventive workforce behind “However… I Survived” mentioned they didn’t need the video to really feel like a “sob story.” 

“Although we’re nonetheless being murdered at extraordinarily excessive charges, we’re letting our presence be recognized,” Jam mentioned. “We’re combating for our happiness. We should have a good time our resilience.” 

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