The 10 Best LGBT Music Videos of 2016
LGBT artists paid tributes to Pulse nightclub victims and rewrote Romeo and Juliet.
This year, LGBT musical artists used videos to tell stories as compelling as their songs. Sia paid tribute to the Orlando shooting victims in an emotional video starring Maddie Ziegler, while Frank Ocean honored Trayvon Martin. Teagan and Sara made an homage to LGBT icons, while Kehlani released a defiant video for her equally defiant single. Here are the 10 best LGBT music videos of 2016.
1) "The Greatest" by Sia ft. Kendrick LamarMaddie Ziegler is back as Sia’s conduit in "The Greatest." The haunting video directed by Sia and Daniel Askill and choreographed by Ryan Heffington is an emotional tribute to the 49 victims of the Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando. The video uses Ziegler and 49 other young dancers to represent the members of the LGBT community who lost their lives at the club while dancing as themselves.
2) "Nikes" by Frank OceanThe day after Frank Ocean released his surprise visual album Endless, he released his second studio album Blonde, and with it the first video for the album’s lead single, "Nikes." The video, directed by Tyrone Lebon, boasts a dizzying array of imagery, including self-immolation, glittery nights out, and a lyrical and visual tribute to Trayvon Martin, A$AP Yams, and Pimp C. Trina and A$AP Rocky (who holds a portrait of A$AP Yams) make cameos.
3) "Faint of Heart" by Tegan and SaraTegan and Sara’s "Faint of Heart," directed by Devon Kirkpatrick, happened to be filmed the day after the Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando. The video is a fitting celebration of LGBT strength, featuring young LGBT writers, activists, and artists in character as Grace Jones, David Bowie, Prince, Madonna, Elvis, and Tegan and Sara. The real Tegan and Sara sit in the audience, cheering on the performers.
4) "High School Never Ends" by Mykki Blanco ft. WoodkidThe video for Mykki Blanco’s "High School Never Ends," directed by Matt Lambert, reimagines the story of Romeo and Juliet, replacing fair Verona with rural Germany, and tells the story of queer outsiders in a forbidden romance. Imagery evokes the refugee crisis in Europe.
5) "Augustine" by Blood OrangeThe video for Blood Orange’s "Augustine," directed by Dev Hynes, cuts between shots of summertime in New York, a book on Black Queer Studies, a Time magazine cover featuring Trayvon Martin, and the artist singing in front of a hand-painted Sierra Leone flag. The affirming video is as much an ode to New York as it is to the people who live there, and captures the city at its golden-hour.
6) "Million Reasons" by Lady GagaAfter taking on a grunge persona in "Perfect Illusion," Lady Gaga’s country music video for "Million Reasons" proves the singer can wear a million hats (even pink cowgirl hats). The video picks up right where "Perfect Illusion," left off, with Gaga having a breakdown in the desert and finding comfort in her friends. The quieter video allows her country vocals to shine through.
7) "CRZY" by Kehlani
Kehlani’s single "CRZY" has a video, directed by Benny Boom, to match the defiant lyrics, "If I gotta be a bitch, I’mma be a bad one." The dance-heavy video features the Oakland native in a well-choreographed dance with friends, and cuts to charming shots of Kehlani at a birthday party.
8) "Colors" by HalseyHalsey’s hazy video for "Colors," directed by Tim Mattia, stars Teen Wolf’s Tyler Posey along the biesexual pop star, which opens with the pair and their parents playing tennis at a country club. Halsey and Posey attend Badlands Prep together where Halsey seems to take secret polaroid pictures of Posey. It’s revealed that Halsey’s photos were actually of Posey’s father.
9) "Desire" by Years & Years ft. Tove LoLead singer Olly Alexander saw the "Desire" video, directed by Fred Rowson, as an opportunity to tell a story about his queer family. The tantalizing imagery, magical worlds, and symbolism in "Desire" make it impossible to look away; just don’t watch this video at work.
10) "Trash" by Tyler GlennNeon Trees' frontman Tyler Glenn came out as gay in 2014. In his emotional 2016 video for "Trash," directed by Mike Harris, the ex-Mormon singer takes a stance against anti-gay views in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.