Hailey Knox's Hardwired video is a dreamy tribute to social anxiety and the music that gets us through.
Less than a month ago, musical Hailey Knox graced Popdust Presents with her vocal acrobatics and extremely relatable lyrics.
Now she's transported her talents to a dreamily neon-lit diner for the video to "Hardwired," the title track from her debut LP.
The video switches back and forth between shots of Knox alone in the diner to clips of her struggling to interact with various people, a sequence that will be strikingly relatable to anyone who's ever replayed their social mishaps back after the fact, wondering why on earth they said what they did.
The video was filmed at NYC's YouTube space and stars Cameron Boyce from Disney's "Descendants," but the diner feels like it could be in the middle of nowhere. It's a shadowy church to the hollow mythologies of American youth culture, and it provides the perfect atmosphere for a story about feeling detached from one's real self.
Image via pancakesandwhiskey.com
"Hardwired" is a folky power ballad about having trouble speaking out. Its lyrics stand out in refreshing contrast to a world that values extraversion over introversion, prizing outspokenness over reflectiveness. Knox has made a name for herself by speaking honestly about the intricate challenges of basic social interaction; her debut EP was called A Little Awkward, and other songs on the Hardwired Mixtape, like "Traumatized," recognize the gaps that exist between the public's perception of her and her true self, which is "a little less cool than advertised."
Image via kink.fm
Though she may have trouble relating to others in the real world, Knox is able to effortlessly express herself in song. The video is an extension of the track's pensively atmospheric nature, floating from scene to scene but revolving around its withdrawn protagonist as she struggles to communicate with various friends and acquaintances. "Wish I was hardwired to feel nothing," she sings, and the lights flicker; then she's perched alone on top of a booth again, spinning out the song's faltering refrain, which spills into intricate fingerpicking. There may be an unbridgeable gap between Knox and the people in her life, but through her music, she's able to bridge every divide.
Eden Arielle Gordon is a writer and musician. Follow her on Twitter at @edenarielmusic.
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Plus celebrities react to Nigerian protests.
Young people across Nigeria have been pouring into the streets for the last two weeks to protest police brutality, specifically the controversial special police force known as the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS).
Tension came to a head on Tuesday when armed forces fired on protestors in Lagos, the biggest city in Nigeria, who were out past the state-mandated curfew. According to AP News, "Police also fired tear gas at one point, and smoke could be seen billowing from several areas in the city's center. Two private TV stations were forced off the air at least temporarily as their offices were burned."
Not all non-binary people prefer gender-neutral pronouns.
October 21, 2020 marks the third annual International Pronouns Day.
Created by an independent board and first observed in 2018, it's one of those small commemorative holidays that trends on Twitter in hopes of drawing attention to a pressing social issue, like International Women's Day (March 8th) or the ever so serious National Taco Day (October 4).
But Pronouns Day in particular "seeks to make respecting, sharing, and educating about personal pronouns commonplace." The organization's website further describes, "Referring to people by the pronouns they determine for themselves is basic to human dignity. Being referred to by the wrong pronouns particularly affects transgender and gender nonconforming people. Together, we can transform society to celebrate people's multiple, intersecting identities."
But in the words of nonbinary activist and Trevor Project's Head of Advocacy and Government Afairs, Sam Brenton, "Pronouns are hard." Never before have pronouns been scrutinized as closely as they are in 2019 for their power to (in)validate or accurately describe something as fluid as gender identity. In fact, it was only this year that the Merriam-Webster Dictionary expanded the definition of "they" "to refer to a single person whose gender identity is nonbinary" (thus codifying a long history in English language of using "they" to refer to a singular non-gendered entity).
‘Everyone has the responsibility to be respectful.’ — The @TrevorProject’s Sam Brinton is explaining why pronouns a… https://t.co/pMMO8KRvBR— NowThis (@NowThis)1571253180.0
But throwing an additional wrench in the works is the fact that not all non-binary people prefer gender-neutral pronouns.
Take me, for instance: Despite having female biology, I couldn't pass a lie detector test saying I'm a "woman." But my pragmatic, Puritan family is still endearingly confused by the idea of "liberal arts," let alone the notion of gender fluidity. And I'd rather share a communal language with them than do the emotional and mental labor of re-orienting their worldview for them. Plus, I have the privilege of passing as female without feeling too, too, terribly dysphoric (which non-binary people can definitely suffer from, despite not identifying as trans).
But enough about me, look at Queer Eye's beloved Jonathan Van Ness. While he's been outspoken about being genderqueer, gay, and HIV positive, he prefers he/him pronouns. "The older I get, the more I think that I'm nonbinary," Van Ness said. "I'm gender nonconforming. Like, some days I feel like a man, but then other days I feel like a woman." As he told Out magazine, he doesn't identify as a man, but he does prefer "he/him/his" pronouns. In his view, those pronouns don't detract from or contradict his non-binary identity, because gender is not about simple binaries between masculine and feminine identifiers. "Any opportunity I have to break down stereotypes of the binary, I am down for it, I'm here for it," he said. "I think that a lot of times gender is used to separate and divide. It's this social construct that I don't really feel like I fit into the way I used to."
On the other hand, last month non-binary singer Sam Smith announced that their preferred pronouns are "they/them." Smith posted to Instagram, "I've decided I am changing my pronouns to THEY/THEM ❤ after a lifetime of being at war with my gender I've decided to embrace myself for who I am, inside and out." People like Smith and Trevor Project's Sam Brenton simply feel more validated, seen, heard, and true to themselves with gender-neutral pronouns. Smith wrote, "I'm so excited and privileged to be surrounded by people that support me in this decision but I've been very nervous about announcing this because I care too much about what people think but f*ck it!"
Most importantly, as pretty much every non-binary person and activist is aware, changing cultural norms is hard. While LGBTQ+ activism is inspired and passionate and dedicated to expanding human rights to all gender identities, we all know that changing society's entire understanding of gender and pronoun usage is about slowly opening minds. As Smith wrote, "I understand there will be many mistakes and mis gendering but all I ask is you please please try. I hope you can see me like I see myself now. Thank you." Happy Pronouns Day to you/him/her/they/(f)aer/zim.