MUSIC

Harper Grae Takes on Country Music's Inclusivity Problem

With her new video for "Wanna Wear a Dress," the singer-songwriter is gently bridging a long held generational gap in the country music scene.

Harper Grae has always been starkly different from the typical Nashville recording artist.

She has regularly used her music as a tool to deal with the grief that stems from having key family members absent due to addiction, as she did in early life. She started the Look Up Foundation to further address that concern, providing children living in difficult circumstances with artistic tools to process their feelings. She has consistently been a vivacious and socially conscious singer-songwriter, but her latest project ups the ante. The video for her latest single, "Wanna Wear a Dress," is an ode to youth struggling to find their identity and live their truth.

Harper Grae - "Wanna Wear a Dress" (Official Music Video) youtu.be

Grae sings against a stark background, isolated in the ether. At a dinner table, we see a daughter announce to her parents that she is going on a date. Wordlessly, the dad hands her a VHS. She places it in a player and watches the story of her parents' courting two decades prior. We then see the girl getting ready for her romantic evening, at first alone, then aided by her mother. When her date arrives, it's a girl. The parents watch with pride as their daughter leaves. The activities of the date mirror those of the mother and father on theirs; those first embers of love are the same.

A video and a story like this are refreshing, particularly in the world of country music, which skews towards a more conservative set of values. What Grae is doing here is very gently bridging that gap, sending out a message of love that says, "We all belong in this world. Country music is for everyone." This inclusivity is going to be essential for the medium to grow and stay relevant. Harper Grae deserves all the praise for this video and what it represents for her and the industry.

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Culture Feature

Randonauting for the First Time: Here’s What Really Happened

The Randonautica app led me to a mysterious empty road. Researching it led me to conspiracy theories, quantum physics, simulation theory, manifestation techniques, and chaos magic.

The Dead Zone

The trip began with a wrong turn.

I drove confidently down the street until I realized I was going in the wrong direction, and veered down a dead-end to turn around.

Immediately, I wondered if this was symbolic, a sign from the universe that I should turn back. On a randonauting trip—at least if you adopt the open-minded and deeply superstitious mindset of many of the app's roughly 10 million and counting users—everything takes on a weird and ominous meaning, adopting a number of possibly divine implications.

The app led me down the street, out of my immediate neighborhood and up some of the windiest streets in my town in upstate New York. Treacherous even on the sunniest day of summer, the serpentine road set me on edge. Suddenly, a car veered towards me out of nowhere, forcing me to swerve.

When I arrived at the destination, all I saw was forest on both sides, two parallel ravines on the edge of the paved road. I opened up the Randonautica app as if it would give me some kind of wisdom about what I was supposed to find.

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