She Should Run
This video, for “Everything is Happening Today,” was made in the summer and fall of 2016 — which now, to me and most sentient beings on earth, feels like an eternity ago. I was about to release a record, aware of but not consumed by the impending election and gearing up for a full fall of touring. There was still plenty to be horrified by, to be sure — this is Planet Earth, after all — but I was busy, focused, and relatively assured by those around me that “he’s isn’t going to win”.
At the time of its creation, it felt like a radical enough act for me to simply be seen by the camera at all — to put aside my concerns about my appearance and physicality and try to let myself project a vision of the peace and confidence that I think we all deserve to feel (even if it’s not always the peace and confidence I do feel). I felt more comfortable with my reflection than ever.
But, of course, November came. In the aftermath of the election, all business as usual went out the window, and continuing to perpetuate the self-serving PR machine dropped down to the bottom of my list of priorities. I watched the footage (exciting as it is, thanks to the remarkably talented folks at Endless Endless) and saw a version of myself that existed once, but who now feels incomplete — a moment in time reflecting a peace and comfort that I no longer feel.
Recently I had the pleasure of camping out in a studio in Los Angeles for a week with two friends and phenomenally talented musicians, Katie Harkin and Stella Mozgawa. When we started playing together I realized that it was, strangely, the first time I’ve ever made music with a group comprised solely of women. At a point I asked Stella (who is, in fact, one of the finest drummers I’ve ever played with, period) how and when she started playing. She told me that when she was in school bands as a kid, drums were the one instrument that she, as a girl, was never allowed to touch — which only ended up pissing her off and strengthening her resolve to learn to play. Fortunately, she was persistent and determined enough to continue, but I wonder — how I might have reacted in that scenario? And how many young women are dissuaded from learning skills to which they would, in fact, be amazingly well-suited, everywhere, every single day?
With this in mind, I hatched a plan to hopefully use the premiere of this video in a way that I hadn’t considered a few months ago. Instead of continuing to perpetuate a press cycle that is fully self-serving, perhaps I could use this launch to simultaneously direct my fans and followers — people who would already be inclined to watch a new FOD video, whatever the source — to a non-profit organization doing good work?
Which is how I discovered She Should Run — an excellent organization dedicated to helping to support and encourage women in the field of public leadership. I’m pretty certain I wouldn’t be an effective politician, for a whole host of reasons. I consider myself to be a person of great conviction, but when faced with finding the right words to express what I believe, my mind has a tendency to go blank (I know — I’m working on it). So by dedicating this video to She Should Run, I hope to support and encourage women who are better suited than I to this calling, and who will face a nearly insurmountable amount of resistance and scrutiny in the pursuit of their path. Maybe you are one of those women, with the desire to affect change and the right skill set to get the job done. If so, I encourage you to call on the resources that an organization like this one (and many others) provides. (Also: thank you.)
(Full disclosure — I had originally hoped to premiere this video on their platform, but after some initial inquiry it became clear that the time and effort this would take on their part would actually be better spent, doing, y’know, their actual work? So I decided to write this instead.)
I can’t lie — I’ve spent a lot of time worrying that I shouldn’t share this video, for fear that the vision of unabashed joy that it presents has become irrelevant, almost inappropriate. In the end, I decided that I would feel much worse if I didn’t. In spite of this swell of fear and hate that has permeated our lives, I think it’s important to continue to show ourselves to the world, to bring our ideas to life and allow ourselves to be vulnerable. For many of us, now is a time of anger, of focus, of resolve — a time to shift as much of our energy as possible to helping those who sorely need it. But I also believe we should try to avoid feeling guilty for allowing happiness, laughter and light into our lives where and when we can. These are the things that make life worth living, that feed our desire to continue living in this world and trying to make it better. In that spirit, please enjoy this little nugget of visual escapism we made, and don’t forget what it feels like to be hopeful.