What do you feel when you watch JessB's Set It Off video?
By now I hope you've seen JessB's new video, Set It Off, directed by Connie Cash (Paloma Schneideman & Shaki Wasasa) The video made me smile, and got me thinking about what kind of impact this visual would have had on me as a teen - and what kind of impact it will have on young people today. I asked some of the women involved what they hope people will feel when they watch the video. Here are their answers:
Leah Pao / @_queenoftonga :
"I really hope people feel good when they watch this video, good about themselves and good about others. I hope they get empowered seeing beautiful STRONG WOMEN that they look like and can relate to, do their thang. Where do you see a cast of brown (Pasifika brown) and LGBTQI women on mainstream media? HARDLY EVER/NEVER!!
This video is a message to say, “Hey, we’re here, we’ve BEEN here and we’re not going anywhere!!” Personally, I feel it is the MOST important message. I never had any trans or intersexual role models growing up, and that’s coz they’re never on mainstream media. Why? We all know why. Society has cast us out. Yeah we’re progressing as a people but my thing is, WHAT ARE WE PROGRESSING TOWARDS?
People like us (anyone who falls under the LGBTQI umbrella) HAVE BEEN HERE SINCE THE START OF TIME so why are we still seen as alien?
That’s how much this video means to me. It means VISIBILITY. It means being role models to our brown babies. It means acceptance. It means being different is OKAY.
I hope people watch the video and feel a way, good types of ways, exactly how I did when I watched it 😃 I screamed and danced the whole time lmao."
Ufitia Sagapolutele / @tiasagapolutele :
"‘Set it Off’ celebrates strong, powerful and diverse wahine. Jess creates a space that is inclusive for all women. In a male-dominated industry, from sports to music, and a world where some women tend to compete with each other, it’s refreshing to see women come together and just have fun - living their best lives in the clip.
As well as seeing bad-ass women play netball (a sport that’s not really celebrated here in Aotearoa compared to rugby - even though we are one of the best in the world) I think it’s hella cool! I hope that viewers can take away how bloody incredible we are when we come together. To embrace how different and unique we are and to encourage and uplift each other always. Because there is room for all of us to succeed, and when we do...it’s magic!"
Paloma Schneideman / @schneidewoman :
For me, the vid is sort of about instigating a movement, particularly within young women. I really wanted them to feel empowered without compromise - to know you can be a powerhouse and also be beautiful and sexy and strong and funny too. I guess it’s about kicking down doors and redefining expectations. If you’re not going to share the space, we’re gonna take it. I hope it inspires the women who watch it, and makes them realise the strength in the sisterhood.
Shaki Wasasala / @half.queen :
I think what I hope people feel is empowered and reflected. The video was made obviously for Jess’ fans (and new fans) who are mainly young WoC, so having them feel reflected in the media they consume in a powerful and positive way was major in making it. I agree, if I saw it as a teen I would’ve been shook!!!!
That’s totally why we wanted to do this video. Not like anything outta Aotearoa before - which has a great social commentary, but was also funny, also visually stunning, that also made visible some PoC that are otherwise overlooked in mainstream media, and showed the cast displaying strength, beauty and sisterhood.
I just want people to feel empowered and excited and reflected, and obviously entertained.
Thanks to everyone for letting me slide in their DMs for this piece x