For the month of June, we asked all of our writers to include a video in their post.
There’s one week left of Pride. As is customary, I’ve celebrated, I’ve cheered, I’ve marched, and I’ve loved, but lately my month has been made somber by the tragedy in Orlando. I’ve dwelled on how to respond: on what’s “right” to do as a gay person after this shooting. So far, I’ve just listened, hearing and reading the responses of others—some even from this blog. After collecting as many thoughts and ideas as I could before today, I’ve concluded that if you are looking for a powerful, enlightening, and comforting essay about the devastating loss our community suffered on June 12th, 2016, I cannot find the words for you right now.
What I do have to offer, though, is my coping mechanism. I’ve found myself watching and rewatching four categories of YouTube videos, listed below, as a way to give myself an emotional break from sorrow, anger, and confusion. These videos star some LGBTQ icons (although not all are LGBTQ themselves) whose talents have provided me with the pride that this month deserves. While I certainly hope these videos provide entertainment, I also hope that they foster a deserved respect for the fabulousness of the queer community.
- Todrick Hall’s “4” Videos
If you like music and dancing, you could get lost on Todrick Hall’s channel for the entire month of Pride, and also probably for next year’s Pride, and then for the Pride after that. However, I’m finding that my favorite videos are his “4 [Someone]” videos. In these videos, Todrick picks an artist (usually a pop diva) and makes a mash-up of all of their most popular songs, splitting the screen into four sections while he sings and dances with himself. His latest video, “4 Ariana,” is below, and it’s my favorite one so far.
If you told me that the only YouTube channel I would subscribe to was two non-hetero guys chatting with each other every week, I would have rolled on the ground laughing in your face. Nevertheless, it’s absolutely true and I love SUPERFRUIT. Scott and Mitch are two members of a Grammy-winning acapella group called Pentatonix, but also run this YouTube channel where they answer questions, play games, and live life. In the video below, Scott and Mitch quiz Mitch’s dad on different gay slang terms, which you will hopefully find both hilarious and educational.
- Videos of Beyonce’s Formation World Tour
Yes, Beyonce is first and foremost an icon for black women and not actually a card carrying member of the LGBTQ community herself. However, as a champion for equality and sexual liberation, I assure you that she has a large queer fan base. On June 3, 2016, I attended the best concert I have ever been to in my entire life: the Formation World Tour. The evidence of its impact on me is that I have watched the video below approximately fifty times since then, and continue to watch it over and over again. I admit that there were other equally good, if not better, moments in the show, so if you’re not in love with this video I encourage you to keep exploring the internet for clips of the concert. However, this video best captures the vibe of the show for me: surprising, empowering, and a little spiritual, too.
- Tig Notaro
I finally watched this comedian’s self-titled documentary on Netflix and immediately became obsessed with her story and her sense of humor. However, I realized that my first encounter with her was not on Netflix, but rather was during an episode of This American Life called “Invisible Made Visible” (which happened to be recorded live, and can be viewed below). While I recommend listening to and watching all of Tig’s videos that you can find, the clip below is one of my favorite sets of hers about her frequent run-ins with celebrity Taylor Dane (don’t worry if you don’t recognize the name; it’s all part of the humor of the situation).
Hopefully these videos will help you end your month of June with some happiness and humor. I want to end this post, however, by providing a link to donate to Orlando victims’ families. While it’s important for all of us to remember our happiness, we cannot forget our sorrow, because contentment cannot care the way we need it to.
Michael Kelly (’14) graduated from Calvin College with a double major in psychology and writing. Shortly after graduating, he began his graduate level study of educational research, measurement, and evaluation at Boston College. When he is not studying learning and teaching, Michael learns and teaches through stories and writing—fiction and nonfiction, comedy and tragedy, and everything else in between.