I Miss America

by Lily Kershaw

I was raised on Joni and Dylan. I have always romanticized a time when songs were commentary and a vehicle for protest. I have had an obsession with the 60’s since childhood that hasn’t relented. I loved the music, the love, the art, the freedom, the belief in a brighter future, and that through truth, kindness, and a little bit of rock & roll, things were going to be better than they were before.

I wrote “Miss America” alone in my bedroom…feeling tired, unheard, and misrepresented. The people who are in the majority of making decisions about life here in this country are missing the mark, and I was left missing what America stood for. What I was raised to believe it could be; a place of true growth, positive change, and freedom. I love America. I am fiercely proud to be from here, but we need to raise the bar, set a higher standard, and take better care of each other.

America has an unprecedented ability to set trends. We have a capability to make change that have ripples on a grand scale. We are called the free world, and when I think of what a free world looks like, it is a place where honesty, the treatment of others, and the well being of all are the only things that matter. The decisions we make now will effect which direction we go in and whether we will truly achieve a free world, but we must act now.

So yes, I wrote a song about missing America, and yet here I am talking about the world because ultimately it is all connected and we are all connected. We all have hopes and dreams of better things the world over. It is time to be here now and realize just how important our actions and choices are. We can’t numb out, or turn away, or stay silent about the things that are most important; the treatment of humans, animals, and our planet. This is our only home, we as a human race are the only family we will ever know, and our animal kingdom friends, they should be treated as such, friends.

The 60’s heralded ideals of an Aquarian age, a time of peace between men, their minds, and their makers. A time of free love and unity, but also a time of cultural upheaval and protest not unlike now. With this time in mind I created this music video:

For the performance section of this video, I wanted to show the connection between all of us. I wanted to create a visual representation with male and female energy on screen. I wanted to do it in black and white à la Andy Warhol interviews at the factory in the sixties — intimate and often provocative. Last but not least, I wanted to create an image where I was at my most vulnerable and exposed, but was still covered and protected. It’s cyclical and we are all one.

I hope you enjoy this song and this video. Making music and art is one of my greatest joys, and I consider it an honor and a privilege that you have given me your time today. I don’t know where we are all going from here, and sometimes I feel utterly overwhelmed by the state we are in. In those moments, I get quiet and remind myself to start from where I am and do the best I can to make my life and the lives of those around me a little better each day.