"They say it's a man's world—that a woman should know her place." This is the opening line of Lili K's "Magic", the first single off of her sophomore album, Planet of Flowers. As I am watching the video and listening to Lili K belt out the first line of the song I have crowned the anthem of my 30th year in a voice as rich and sweet as a bottle of the 1980's version of Mrs. Buttersworth's syrup, I get a text from my friend, fellow writer, and all around magical being, Dani. "Stop. Abort Mission. lol" the text reads. I release a flurry of texts in response, excuses mainly, about why I deserve to be heard. Like a true friend, Jas, another writer and all around phenomenal woman, jumps in "We all go through the go through with these fuccbois on the journey..." I stop typing. They are right. We are in media and marketing, two verticals that are rarely saturated with women, and sometimes, we need a safe space to communicate about work, love, and life, with no judgement, but swift correction when needed. Someone was going to be on the receiving end of pettiness dressed up as principle that they did not even deserve. I attribute this to the real fuccboi and readjust my crown. My phone buzzes again and I have a new Facebook notification. Someone tagged me into their political debate. The topic, "Is it acceptable not to vote?". Normally, I like a good conversation, but not today, Satan. In the words of Dani, abort, abort! Usually I feel a civic responsibility to engage in these types of conversations, but the constant saturation of this election is the biggest fuccboi in my life currently. And though it will be over in a little over 24 hours, like all fuccbois, the effects will be felt long after.
I am tired. I don't even think I realized how tired I was because we (is it OK to say we? I know I'm not the only whose parents gave them the 'You Have To Be Twice As Good Speech' a' la Papa Pope on Scandal ) are programmed to always do more. Don't stop. Be better. Do better. Try harder. Always room for improvement. No excuses. Phrases melodically and methodically beaten into the heads of doe eyed, bright children–brown, black, yellow, white, female, descendants of immigrants, descendants of slaves and any combination thereof–by well meaning parents, mentors, and teachers, across the world for the greater good that is thriving—and sometimes, just surviving—in America. And then there is the 2016 election, where we have Donald Trump versus Hillary Clinton. And it's close. A reality TV star and business man who has never held public office and has at least one impending trial post election, and a former Secretary Of State and former First Lady are running against each other. And Hillary Clinton, with her experience and endorsements, however questionable, only has a three point lead. Talk to them Stevie.
"They say you're just a girl, what could you have to say," Lili croons as my phone buzzes again. It's twitter. "Hillary Clinton email probe closed by FBI". Again? , I think. This election is exhausting, and then I chuckle, because the first time I met Lili K she was at the PopDust offices. It was the day after the first presidential debate. We laughed at the highlights and low lights of the debate. Or were they the low lights and even lower lights? It's hard to remember, but we re-enacted the commercial of Mary J Blige singing the song of protest to Hillary Clinton. Naturally, the strong vocalist with the blonde locks was Mary. Apparently, its a Bruce Springsteen song. I had no idea until Lili told me, but as a classically trained musician, she knows her music history. In fact, she's socially conscious about all issues, from the economy, to community policing. Jazz is her first musical love though, with Ella Fitzgerald being her ultimate inspiration, and she remains true to that in all of her work to date. Much like Ella, the singer is passionate, vocal, and loyal to her craft. When Swing was taking over the airwaves in the mid 30's, Ella took one of the biggest swing songs of the time, "(If You Can't Sing It) You Have to Swing It" and jazzed it up. In a parallel universe of sorts, Lili K joins the champions of soul in one of the biggest hip hop cities in the world, Chicago. Lili K first received notoriety while working with Chance the Rapper on "Hey Ma", Chance's smooth 'we are going to get on and I can't wait to repay you' anthem and then Vic Mensa. Both were successful singles, and spurred inspiration on all sides, but she does not drop their names or ride the coattails of the two into hip hop fame. Instead, she chooses to stay true to her sound, and rally with other soul singers in what she describes as still a very much 'underground soul scene.' Right now, the guys of Chicago's rap scene are dominating local and national media, but Lili is determined to be heard. Which brings us back to the presidential debate. We both are astonished about the lack of personal responsibility from Trump in regards to actually answering the moderator's questions, and his demeaning of Hillary based on her 'temperament'. "Don't you talk, just listen" can easily be mistaken as a quotation attributed to Trump during the debates, but no, it's Lili K, singing her fuccboi anthem. "Don't you cry. I'll say you lied. They will believe my side because I'm the guy. Now you see that's the type of shit that weak, pathetic boys try." To any man who has ever used his position to demean and devalue a woman, professionally, or personally, that shout out is for you.
"Don't steal the magic." We are at the end of the song, and Lili K is practically pleading this refrain but each time her voice becomes stronger and louder. She is joined by a chorus of other equally as strong voices, harmonizing, determined to get their mysticism acknowledged. The tempo quickening, percussion beating stronger, as if summoning the strength of all women that ever existed in any universe into an almost haunting crescendo. And then it fades. Because, Just maybe, the song is just tired as I am.
The woman named Tidal's Rising feature artist of 2015, says that the song is 'about women being magical in the face of sexism, misogyny, and rape culture.' Besides being timely, the video is absolutely stunning, juxtaposing nudes and bright scenery, and glass used to display the women in the end becomes the same glass used to protect them. Get into the visuals below.