Quarantined Content: Joyful, Queerful Media for Stressful Times
by Alyssa Sileo
It’s no doubt that these are stressful and uncertain times due to the coronavirus outbreak. Many folks are isolated, working from home, or wondering how they are going to make it through a couple weeks without a paycheck. It is the members of society that are made most vulnerable by institutionalized oppression that will be most vulnerable to the effects of the outbreak. At this time, so many of the flaws in our systems are becoming exposed to a wider audience.
I am home from school right now, because my university has transitioned to virtual learning for the next three weeks and I have the privilege of coming back home. I’ve been trying to keep my days full of art that cheers me up and reminds me of my beloved queer community. I wanted to make a list for you all of joyful queer media, songs, films/shows, and books that you can check out. I know this won’t fix anything that really needs fixing, like the healthcare system or income inequality — but maybe this art can bring a smile to your face.
Here’s some things I’ve been loving recently, in no particular order:
1) Janelle Monáe’s Dirty Computer:
This “emotion picture” is created from music videos of songs from the April 2018 album of the same name. You all know how obsessed I am with Janelle Monáe and I’m pointing out this album specifically because of “Pynk” and “Make Me Feel,” which are arguably two of the greatest queer/sapphic songs of the century. Their music videos are works of art. Plus, this film has a love story between Tessa Thompson and Janelle. So it wins everything. You can watch it on YouTube at this link. Fair warning though, this film includes references to policing and surveillance that could be upsetting to viewers.
2) Hayley Kiyoko’s music videos (the overtly happy ones):
I’m always ready to dance from a sapphic bop after sitting on my couch watching a whole series of a show as I wait for my virtual classes to get set up. Here’s three Hayley music videos videos that have the least angst/most happy endings/most queer stuff:
- “She:” This recent music video will bring all sapphics back to their baby gay days when they see Hayley Kiyoko in her Lemonade Mouth hairstyle. This is shot in all one take and has a really beautiful and celebratory end. Check it out on YouTube here.
- “What I Need:” Okay, so there is some angst in this video, but the happy ending and relationship between Kehlani and Hayley is what got it on this list! This is one of the most famous sapphic songs to this generation. Watch it here.
- “Feelings:” This is my favorite Hayley Kiyoko video of all time, because in my opinion, it’s the most relatable. When Hayley sees a pretty girl, she just starts dancing. That’s…that’s how it goes, y’all. This music video is also shot really interestingly. Here’s the link!
3) Schitt’s Creek:
I’m obsessed with this TV show and how much it makes me laugh and smile. This show is about a super rich family that loses all of their money so they have to go live in a motel in a small town. They make friends and learn a lot about the true importance of things. It makes the list because one of the characters is pansexual! MP Writer Ian has been writing episode recaps, too, which makes your viewing experience that much more fun. Seasons 1 to 6 of the show are featured on Netflix.
4) The Stars and the Blackness Between Them:
I got this book for Christmas and it became my favorite book by Chapter 1. It is a gorgeous story of two young girls who meet each other — one from Minneapolis, and one from Trinidad — and fall in love as they both struggle to heal. This book includes storylines of homophobic family and sickness, which I found upsetting and you might as well, but I believe the joy of this book triumphs over that. I mean, how many books out there link together sapphic representation, black representation, spirituality, and Whitney Houston’s young life together? You can find an excerpt of the book here as well as links to purchase it!
5) Brittany Howard’s Music:
I left my fall semester of sophomore year absolutely head over heels for Brittany Howard and her work with Alabama Shakes. There’s just something special about knowing that there’s a queer woman singing these blues and rock songs. Here’s three of my favorite songs by her:
- “Georgia:” This song is sung from the perspective of a younger Brittany to her childhood crush! I don’t get to hear songs like this too often so I was super excited to come across it. Here’s the YouTube audio link.
- “Hold On:” This is the perfect song for these times, with a sound that is all about resilience and joy. Here’s a video of them performing live so you can get the full experience of the fun her band has onstage.
- “I Found You:” I gotta say, this is on my list of potential wedding songs! It’s just such a sweet love song that uses Brittany’s full emotive talent. Here is the song.
I hope you’re able to find something you like on this list! Keep washing your hands, reaching out to loved ones, and remembering what brings you joy in life.
About the Author:
Alyssa Sileo’s Thespian identity comes first and foremost in anything she carries out. As a member of the Drew University Class of 2022, she studies theatre arts, women’s and gender studies, and Spanish. She’s a proud NJ Thespian Alumni and member of their state chapter board. She is the leader of the international performances network The Laramie Project Project, which unites worldwide productions and readings of the acclaimed Tectonic Theater Project play and encourages community-based LGBTQ+ advocacy. Alyssa is humbled to serve as the 2017 Spirit of Matthew Award winner and as a Youth Ambassador for Matthew Shepard Foundation. She believes there is an advocacy platform tucked into every piece of the theatre catalogue and intends to write outreach into the canon.